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    I Tried Birchbox For A Year And These Were My Favorite Products

    A beauty lover's guide to everyone's favorite sample-sized subscription box.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    My first-ever makeup memory was in the first grade. I was bunny #2 in our school's Christmas nativity musical.

    Jennifer Tonti

    Most of the girls in our class wanted to be an angel, but I wholeheartedly wanted to be one of the bunnies. All we had to do was hop around the stage and look adorable — also, the bunnies got to wear the most makeup! I still remember the smell of that lipstick. After all, it was ALL OVER MY NOSE.

    This memory stuck with me, all the way through college, when I set off on a journey to learn more about skincare and using makeup. I followed beauty gurus on YouTube, asked my friends what products they loved, turned to articles much like this one for advice. Given the overwhelming sea of products out there, how was I going to try it all?!

    And then, I heard about Birchbox, a beauty subscription box that would be delivered to my doorstep every month for just $10.

    Here's how Birchbox works:

    Birchbox / Via

    When signing up, you answer a series of questions about skin type, skin tone, and personal preferences so Birchbox can tailor each month's box to you. Subscribers also have the option to customize their box each month. There are three subscription types:

    Option 1: Let them surprise you. The Birchbox team will select all five samples for you based on your beauty profile and those choices will remain a mystery until you receive your box.

    Option 2: Choose a sample. You can pick one product out of three options and that sample will appear in your box; the other four will be a surprise.

    Option 3: Know what's coming. Pick an already curated box that includes five samples that are shown to you instantly so you know what's on its way.

    Since Birchbox offers these customizations, some of my months will look different than others who received the same box!

    You can sign up for Birchbox here.

    The following products have been my favorite samples from each month over the past year:

    1. December 2016: Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel / Via,

    My favorite product in the December box was the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel. It immediately stood out to me because I had never tried a peel before. I loved the idea of a three-minute, fast-acting product. The general idea is that you leave this on for three minutes, and when you wash it off, your dead skin washed off along with it. It leaves you with a smooth new layer of skin without the use of acids or rough exfoliants that may cause irritation. When I first used this, it actually freaked me out how well it worked! As I washed it off, I could literally feel the dead skin coming off too. It's one of those, "OMG gross, let's do that again" feelings.

    Get it from Birchbox for $48.

    Also included in my December box:

    Dr. Brandt Pores-No-More Cleanser

    Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Eyeliner Duo

    Beautiful Nutrition Lemon Rinse

    Molinard Violette Eau de Parfum

    2. January 2017: Origins Refreshing Eye Cream / Via, Instagram: @jennifertonti / Via Instagram: @jennifertonti

    In January, my go-to product was Origins Refreshing Eye Cream, which helps to reduce puffiness and minimize dark circles. I use this whenever my eyes feel heavy from lack of sleep, or if my allergies have made them a bit puffy. This is an example of a brand I was aware of and always wanted to try but never felt sure enough to roll the dice on a $30 product. I was able to sample a product from the brand first, and I fell in love!

    Get it from Birchbox for $30.

    Also included in my January box:

    Amika Nourishing Mask

    Balance Me Congested Skin Serum

    Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo

    Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner

    Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
    NuFace Prep-N-Glow Cloths

    *January had two extra products as a special new-year bonus!

    3. February 2017: Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum / Via,

    In February my standout favorite was Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum. This is a product and brand that I had never heard of before, and boy am I glad l got this little guy in the mail! First and foremost, THE SMELL IS INCREDIBLE. I'm pretty sensitive to scents in beauty products, but whatever is in this has me coming back for more each time. I use it on my hair after the shower when it's nice and damp: I pump a dollop or two into my palm, rub my hands together, and then run them through my hair making sure to scrunch my tips as well. This serum gets to work right away, making my hair feel hydrated, soft, and repaired. My hair tends to get pretty oily so I avoid my roots with this product but highly recommend it for all hair types.

    Get it from Birchbox for $38.

    Also included in my February box:

    Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle
    Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream

    Manna Kadar Cosmetics Lip Locked

    Cane + Austin 20% Miracle Pads

    4. March 2017: Beauty Protector Protect & Volume Spray / Via,

    The product I kept reaching for in March was the Beauty Protector Protect & Volume spray. I had never really put much thought into hair products but I was pleasantly surprised in February with the Obliphica Professional Seaberry Serum so I gave this a shot and now it's a part of my regular hair-care routine! You simply spritz this onto your hair while it's damp to add volume and protection without any sticky gross residue or buildup. I use it before I flat-iron my hair and it helps me to straighten my hair without losing any volume. (PS: It's also vegan!)

    Get it from Birchbox for $23.50.

    Also included in my March box:

    R+Co Dallas Thickening Shampoo
    R+Co Dallas Thickening Conditioner

    Arrow Enhance Waterproof Eyeliner + Brightener

    Real Chemistry Fresh-Start Foaming Cleanser
    Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream

    5. April 2017: Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Double the Lip / Via,

    The sample that caught my attention in April was Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Double the Lip. By the time April rolled around I had gotten more comfortable with hair and skin-care products, but makeup was still one big mystery to me. Up until that point I had only been using lipsticks and glosses but had not yet delved into lip liner territory. This product was a great introduction, since the duo lipstick has a built-in liner tip that helps to outline and plump your lips in one swipe. Sign me up!

    Get it from Birchbox for $10. Available in Revved-Up Red & Lusty Rose.

    Also included in my April box:

    Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It (H)air Styler - Fine
    Derma E Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask

    Tocca Emelia Eau de Parfum

    Vasanti BrightenUp! New Skin Amplifying Moisturizer

    Before and after:

    Jennifer Tonti / BuzzFeed

    6. May 2017: Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray / Via,

    The product I used the most in May was the Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray. It was starting to get hot outside and I needed a product that would keep my makeup on all day and the added SPF was a much-needed bonus! My makeup lasted all day long with this setting spray, which also protected my skin from the sun.

    Get it from Birchbox for $36.

    Also included in my May box:

    The Beauty Crop Fabulous Flocking Lashes Waterproof Mascara

    OUAI Wave Spray

    Vita Liberata Ten Minute Tan

    Manna Kadar Cosmetics Glo Illuminator

    7. June 2017: Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel / Via,

    My favorite sample in June was, by far, the Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel. It was the first gel moisturizer I ever tried, and I'd heard that if you put it in the fridge it would pack an extra-cool punch — and it totally did! I love using this product as a light moisturizer in the morning before I put on any makeup that might dry out my skin throughout day.

    Get it from Birchbox for $27.

    Also included in my June box:

    Coola Face SPF 30 Rōsilliance BB+ Cream

    Mellow Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lip Paint

    Manna Kadar Cosmetics Eye Candy Priming Shadow Stick

    *I only received four products this month. I wasn't sure why? But I chalked it up to having received those extra products in January.

    8. July 2017: Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil / Via,

    In July the product for me was Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil. I'm a textbook goof so this had my name written all over it! Eyebrows are one of those things I never even thought about. I have pretty thicc eyebrows that need constant plucking and lining. Sometimes I get a little pluck crazy and wind up with half an eyebrow. That's where this lifesaver of a product swooped in and solved everything. It has a hard, sharp edge that really allows me to define my brows and create the best shape for my face. It also comes with a spoolie on one end to help tame those unruly hairs and clean up any mistakes I am bound to make. I highly recommend this product for anyone new to the brow game!

    Get it from Birchbox for $24. Available in six brow shades.

    Also included in my July box:

    Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray
    Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk - Natural Tint - For Brunette to Dark Hair

    Avène Cleanance Expert
    Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser

    9. August 2017: Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment / Via, Instagram: @jennifertonti / Via Instagram: @jennifertonti

    August was one of my favorite boxes because I finally got to try the
    Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment
    ! This product had been all over the internet, but I wasn't about to drop $70 to try it once. So when I opened the box to find this mask staring back at me, I was so excited. I saw results from this right away — anytime my face felt dried out I would leave the treatment on for 15 minutes, and once I washed it away it was like I had spent the day at the spa. Refreshed, plump, and moisturized!

    Get it from Birchbox for $69.

    Also included in my August box:

    Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray

    TokyoMilk Light And Soul Eau De Parfum

    Coastal Scents Blush & Bronzer Palette

    Number 4 Jour D'automne Sugar Texturizing Spray

    10. September 2017: Wilma Schumann Skin Care Mouth & Lips Age-Defying Masque

    September's standout product was Wilma Schumann Skin Care Mouth & Lips Age-Defying Masque simply because of how different and novel it was! It's a mask for your lips that's also shaped like giant lips, and if nothing else it's entertaining to take selfies with. While it's fun to use it's also packed with goodies like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, peptides, and collagen to reduce fine lines around your mouth and hydrate and plump your lips.

    Get it from Birchbox for $20.

    Also included in my September box:

    Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum

    Avène Cleanance MAT Mattifying Toner

    Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

    Pixi by Petra LipLift Max

    11. October 2017: OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil / Via

    My favorite product in October was OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil, which I mostly have used as a body oil. I tend to avoid applying oils to my hair since I already produce enough on my own. I did, however, enjoy putting this on my arms, hands, and legs for post-shower smoothness and hydration. It was getting close to wintertime, and my skin tends to need all the added moisture it can get — this product provided just what I need.

    Get it from Birchbox for $32.

    Also included in my October box:

    Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

    Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

    Milk Makeup Highlighter

    Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance Pure Vanilla Eau de Parfum / Via

    My final favorite product this year has to go to Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol. I had heard raving reviews of this brand from friends, and was excited to finally try one of its products. I really liked how this moisturized my face without it feeling drowned in product or sticky once it dried down. It really absorbed into my skin right away and I've used every last drop since!

    Get it from Birchbox for $33.

    Also included in my November box:

    Amika Touchable Hairspray

    Lord & Berry Magic Brow Pencil

    Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Radiance Primer

    Level Naturals Vanilla + Charcoal Soap

    Thanks to Birchbox, bunny #2 is all glowed up. Share your first makeup memory in the comments!

    Disney / Via Giphy

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