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Birchbox beauty-of-the-month club launches

Birchbox beautyHow many times have you brought home a new mascara that promised to add unbelievable length to your lashes only to discover that it came with clumps of sticky goop? Birchbox, a New York City-based online beauty-of-the-month club, wants to help you avoid these uninformed makeup decisions by sending hand-picked samples to your door.

Birchbox was recently launched by Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, both graduates of Harvard Business School with varied backgrounds: Beauchamp worked in financial and commercial real estate and did a stint at Estee Lauder; Barna worked in ecommerce at Of course, they share a passion for beauty—and for streamlining the trial-and-error process of buying beauty products, which should be “fun and effective,” says Beauchamp.

To that end, for $10 per month (with the option to cancel at any time) or a discounted $110 for the entire year, if you pay upfront, Birchbox will send you four to five product samples every month. Each box has a mix of products, including skin care, makeup, and hair care. The size of the beauty samples varies by product, but Beauchamp says they aim to provide enough for you to get to know the product. “Usually about 3 uses,” she says.

Full-size versions of all the products are available for purchase on the Birchbox website, along with makeup cheat sheets and tutorials. You can read how to fake flawless skin and watch makeup artist Nam Vo show Birchbox’s Mollie Chen how to apply her own primer, foundation, and concealer in 90 seconds—without one squeal of “gorgeous” or other makeup-how-to cliches.

Katie Beauchamp
Katia Beauchamp (pictured) founded Birchbox with fellow Harvard Business School grad, Hayley Barna

Companies like Yellow Box Beauty and NewBeauty Magazine’s Test Tube use a similar concept, but they charge three times as much. And neither have quite nailed a New York City beauty sensibility.

We love the idea of effortless beauty sampling delivered right to our doorstep—especially when the products have been carefully scouted by New York City cool hunters. (In other words, these aren’t the random samples you get at Sephora.) The only fly in the lip gloss? Currently Birchbox features just a few natural-leaning beauty brands—like Korres and Phyto.

Beauchamp says the company will add more all-natural products as Birchbox grows, and hopefully, they’ll be true to their word. Having just received a $1.4 million investment, it seems like the company is poised to become the beauty counterpart to the book-of-the-month club. —Lisa Elaine Held

For more information or to join Birchbox, visit

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