Sample-Sized Stress – Solved! A Solution.

Years ago, I was a finalist for The Amazing Race. Twice! Once I tried out with my brother Chad, and once with my husband Josh, and each time we made it to the interview with the producers. Clearly, we didn’t make it through the final rounds, but I think we were close 🙂

The Saga Of My High-Maintenance Hair

Although I didn’t make it onto The Amazing Race, I have always thought I would be great on Survivor. I am certain that I would win. No one would suspect how crafty and strong I am until it was too late! My only problem is that I would have a very challenging time with my hair. My hair is long and curly and superdry and very easily tangled. It is some serious high-maintenance hair. Why don’t I just cut it off? Because it took me years to grow it out. My hair grows very slowly.

chabot auction

I know they let contestants bring one “luxury item” on Survivor, but I would need an armload of items just for my hair: a comb, a gallon of conditioner, some hair ties, another gallon of moisturizing repair cream, and my special brush…at least. This is the main reason that I have not tried out for the show. My hair. (Okay, maybe I’m not being completely honest here, but it is a reason).

My Fabulous Solution

Anyway. When I travel, it is very difficult to decant all of my various hair products into travel-sized bottles and puzzle those bottles into a quart-sized ziplock bag along with my other essentials. It’s just not fun. It’s tedious and messy and ineffective. But my only other alternative was to check a bag…also not fun…until I discovered BirchBox.

What is Birchbox?

Birchbox is a handpicked mix of luxe beauty samples and other goodies. It’s a subscription box, so you get one in the mail each month. The key here is that the samples are varied, high-quality, and very packable. Over the past few months, I’ve amassed a good-sized stash of samples that I can dip into whenever I need to pack for a short trip. My product packing experience has gone from stressful and annoying, to exciting (I get to try new products!) and easy (takes one minute). I no longer have to rely on whatever a hotel chooses to provide; instead I indulge in top-quality products and they all fit in my carryon. I’ve also found some new favorites by sampling!

This photo shows an assortment of some the samples I’ve received. I really like the fact that they include miniature bottles as well as sample packets.

birchbox samples

Cost is reasonable: $10/month.  However, if you spend five minutes each month to give feedback on the products in your Birchbox, you earn points which you can redeem for full-size products.  You can earn 50-70 points a month, which translates into $5-$7.  So essentially the cost of the box is only $3-$5/month.

Listen Up Fellas!

For the guys out there – there is also a version for men! Josh tried it for a few months and enjoyed it as well, but since he shaves his head and can’t remember to wear sunscreen or moisturizer, his stash of products was just piling up and overtaking our bathroom shelves, so I canceled his subscription.

Bottom Line

While there are other beauty sample boxes out there, I am sticking with Birchbox because of its variety and affordability. I find it to be the perfect solution for an annoying problem. And it’s fun. Try it!


  1. Interesting idea. I’m a beauty product junkie myself so I want to try this anyway, but I like the thought of saving the samples for trips. Also love the price. $3-$5 is very reasonable.

  2. I’m a heavy traveler (in fact writing this while on a business trip in Seattle this week), this is a great idea and I love that it is super affordable with quality products. Sign me up now!

  3. brilliant idea!

  4. Well, there goes the mother/daughter connection. 😉

    I have very fine, short, straight hair that gets oily quickly. I wash alot and use a curling iron to get some lift into the top. When I travel to Europe I don’t bother with a converter as it seems like too much trouble. So my hair days are “meh” at best in Europe. Last winter we wore hats because of the weather and my “meh” deteriorated into really bad.

    While staying with my sister in Belgium I asked her how anyone could have decent hair when it constantly had to be stuffed under a wool hat. She replied, look around you, NO ONE has decent hair in the winter.

    That’s my bad hair story and I’m stickin’ with it.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Anne – if I had to stuff my hair into a hat, it would be a complete disaster!

      My worst hair story (best “bad hair” story) happened a few months after I had my son, and big chunks of my hair fell out very unevenly. One day Josh looked at me and burst out laughing. When he could speak, he managed to tell me that I looked exactly like Beethoven – short hair on top and long, curly hair on the sides. I looked in the mirror to discover that he was totally right. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

  5. seems they have such an overwhelming request for birchbox subscriptions, there is a waitlist now with 4 week wait. Do you have any other fun monthly boxes to recommend? I think I am becoming addicted!! love these posts

  6. Points Pixie says:

    Rebecca – Glad you are enjoying my posts! Try Glossy Box or Ipsy – I was tempted by both.

  7. How do you give feedback that earns points?
    I subscribed to Birchbox and nothing on my account that has feedback section – not that I know of though.

  8. Points Pixie says:

    Once you are logged in, go to the “Box” tab of your account, then click on one of the photos of the products that are displayed. You should see a link that says, “Write a Review.” You earn 10 points for each review you write – takes about 5 minutes to do all of them.

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