Andrew, Dappered’s grooming correspondent, is also the editor-in-chief of Electrogent, a men’s interest, grooming, and lifestyle website which squares the modern interests of men with the classic notions of manliness.
As a grooming blogger/reviewer, you would think that by now I’d be hip to the Birchbox game. Unfortunately, it was one of those things that I never got around to trying out. Well, such is no longer the case, as I opened and experienced my first Birchbox this month. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that people love Birchbox, and for $20 they send a box of stuff to your home. Other than that, I was pretty much clueless. For posterity, I decided to record my experience of opening my first Birchbox, and I’ll give my reviews of the products inside in the article below.
So…what was inside?
(Editor’s Note: Awesome knife not included. Nice cutlery Andrew… Damn.)
Neat and novel, but probably not worth buying?
By far, the coolest thing in the box was the Triple C Green Boom speaker. This is a single (mono) speaker made out of wood and bamboo that plugs in to basically anything with an audio jack. This speaker is novel and unique, and there are some real downsides with this.
First of all, the sound quality leaves a lot to desire, especially for the audiophiles out there. It sounds pretty decent at a low volume, but when you turn it up, it’s just plain awful. Don’t expect to do anything more with this than maybe some soft ambiance. Secondly, the cables for this speaker are about 10 inches long, so don’t expect to hide this somewhere fun–it will need to stay by the audio source. It has a rechargeable battery, though, so you at least have some degree of freedom. Reviews are mixed on the Birchbox site, but so far it’s at 4.5 out of 5 stars.
What exactly is lip butter?
Don’t ask me what the difference between chap stick and lip butter is, because I don’t know. If I had to guess, chap stick is for chapped lips/restorative treatment, and lip butter is to make your lips feel softer? It really just feels oily, though, like you just made out with a stick of butter.
I’m actually a huge proponent of chap stick, in almost any weather. I live in a really dry area, and without it my lips are going to howl. However, I always use Burt’s Bees chap stick, and all other brands are far inferior–including Yes To. This lip butter smells nice, and has some vitamins in it, but I’ll be passing this along to my fiancée who loves this kind of stuff.
No joke, no frills, all boss conditioner.
I don’t claim expertise in the realm of conditioners, but of the ones I’ve used, this is really amazing. This Oribe Supershine conditioner is no joke–not only will it make your hair (super) shiny, but it leaves you with some of the best-feeling hair you can imagine.
I tend to think of shampoo and conditioner like this. Hand soap is lathery and porous, but hand lotion is silky and moisturizing. Shampoo is your hand soap, and conditioner is your lotion. If you have a conditioner that is lathering up, chances are it’s garbage–not always, but most of the time. You can tell a good conditioner when it slides through your hair, letting you massage it into your scalp and letting it chill out in there for a few minutes (without sliding down your face).
Testing Oribe was a ton of fun, I only wish the sample size was bigger–it was enough for one use. Bummer.
It has a cult following, and for good reason.
Kiehl’s has been on the top of my “to-try” list for a long time, and I’m glad I got the chance. I’ve used a lot of face washes in my day, and this one is among the best. Every wash I had left me feeling clean and fresh, and it’s a great face wash to work into your morning routine.
The bottle I have is really small, only a single ounce, but it is holding up better than expected. The lather is great, you only need a touch, and it’s a great no-nonsense face wash. After trying this sample, I’m definitely interested in buying a larger bottle.
Small, but mighty.
This Atelier Cologne is pungent. I dabbed a little on my wrists to let it sink in and warm up to my skin’s natural heat and oils, and I could smell it like nobody’s business. It doesn’t smell necessarily bad, it’s just really strong. If you like subtle scents, the Mistral Patchouli might not be one for you.
The cologne has a strong woodsy smell to it, so guys who like the outdoors might appreciate this one. The big downside is the full version of this cologne is expensive–around $185. Yikes. That’s a bit out of my pay grade.
Overall, my first Birchbox was pretty fun. Trying Kiehl’s for the first time was fantastic, I would have never gotten a chance to use Oribe, and this speaker is a pretty fun knick-knack. I wish the samples were for more affordable products, though, and it was kind of a big let down to learn the cost of the full-size products. Nevertheless, if you’re the type of person who likes getting surprises in the mail, or if you think you’d like to try various high-end grooming products without dropping $185 on some cologne, I think you can find something to appreciate in Birchbox Man. Just don’t expect too much.
Enter here to win April’s most popular box. Since Birchbox assembles and sends out items based on a subscriber’s profile, not every box is the same. The box up for giveaway includes the Portable Speaker, the Mint Lip Butter, a .5 oz tube of Jack Black Supreme Cream Shave Lather, and a sample size of Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream. One entry per person. Deadline for entry is 11:59 pm ET 4/10/13.
UPDATE: Congrats to Michael S. who won the April 2013 Birchbox Man. Thanks to all who entered!
The Birchbox Man that’s up for the giveaway. Good luck!
Note: Since this is grooming stuff that someone had to, y’know, actually use in order to test, Dappered purchased the box Andrew reviewed. Birchbox Man provided the giveaway box one of you will win. We do our absolute best to stay as independent and unbiased as possible and do not keep free samples. Also, know that Birchbox is advertising on Dappered this month. We do not accept advertorials of any kind, and this review was not a condition of the advertising agreement. More here.