I'm obsessed with ... beauty samples

Jan. 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM ET

Birchbox /
Wrapped up in a box: Birchbox helps you discover fun, new products without the mayhem of a Sephora store!

You know that fuzzy feeling you get when you rip open a wrapped box? That savage, bestial female instinct of tearing apart a present?

Now imagine you could do that every single month. For only $10.

Birchbox delivers luxury beauty samples – dolled up in pretty pink packaging – to your mailbox each month. (I can never wait: I rip open my Birchbox as I climb the stairs to my apartment.) The trial-size bottles and tubes range from perfumes to lip glosses to moisturizers. It’s like taking advantage of all those cute little smell-good bottles at hotels, without the hassle of traveling (or the shnasty looks the housekeepers give you when you steal samples off carts).  

Even better, Birchbox has built a snuggly little community of fellow beauty addicts. After spending an evening trying on all the products, I love logging online and seeing what others thought of the items and whether they shared my opinion or had the same questions (“Orofluido Beauty Elixir? That sounds like a Disney villain’s poison, yes?”).

Birchbox /
My favorite product? Nuxe Huile multi-use dry oil, which leaves a subtle glow on skin.

I’ve discovered a few awesome new products from Birchbox, including Oribe dry texturizing spray/ shampoo (smells great) and Nuxe Huile multi-usage dry oil (works wonders on elbows).

But better yet, I’ve actually saved money: I used to order a whole lot more online just so I could revel in not only receiving a package of goodies (which I consider the modern-day equivalent of receiving flowers from a man), but relish unwrapping it. Ten dollars is what I spent just on the shipping! For the same price, I get a full box of four to six items – and ya know, a reason to stay in and play with makeup.

Monthly membership: $10; yearly membership: $110

Rina Raphael is a fashion and features editor at who is slowly recovering from her Internet shopping addiction.

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