The Beauty Box Phenomenon

In my younger days I hoarded every teeny test tube of perfume I could. I swiped miniature cream samples from my mom’s dresser. And if there was a sample in a magazine — as they include so often in the UK, it seems — I’d be the first one to gank it. I’ve always loved sampling beauty products. So the phenomenon of subscription beauty boxes would have been my complete undoing as a teenager.

<3 Birchbox!

I think the first go-round at the beauty box thing that I had a chance to try, was BeautyFix. $50 and a makeup bag stuffed with full sized products came your way every month. Now the market has exploded, and the boxes are way more affordable. It seems like there’s a beauty box for every product category. For further details I turned to my super good friend Carol Hilker, cookbook author, food blogger and awesome Chicago food writer. In addition to being the author of her very own marshmallow cookbook (about to drop in August!!), Carol is kinda addicted to these beauty boxes and is always giving me the lowdown on which are worthwhile and which aren’t.

I had to ask her what makes a beauty box worth paying the subscription fee. What does one look forward to in a really good beauty box? “I like being surprised. Most of the boxes feature skincare, which I really like being in my early 30′s. Two in one products mean the most. Ultimately though, being surprised is what I love the most. 1/3 of the products I have tried, I have purchased. Three products I bought in full size were ultimately products I never would have tried on my own. And I thought I would hate the products,” she told me.

Well HEY. It appears this trend is more effective than I’d assumed.

According to Carol, in most boxes you get 5 to 7 products, but in some boxes this can be filler. Currently, she’s subscribed to four of these services. ”Usually when you have more than five items in a box, you end up with a few fragrance samples, which always feels like wah-wah. Most beauty boxes will see a decline quickly by subscribers if they start overpushing the perfume,” she added.

There are WAY more beauty box subscription services than I’ve heard of or had the ability to review, so for reviews of many of the popular boxes, check out Refinery 29′s excellent beauty box review. Here, I’ll add a few boxes they missed, and share my experience/knowledge of the beauty boxes that have come across my desk so far!

 

Birchbox

When you think beauty subscription box service, Birchbox is likely the first one that comes to mind. Beautifully packaged, skillfully marketed – the Birchbox has become the gold standard when it comes to beauty boxes. I recently went to a Birchbox breakfast here in Chicago and I can tell you from personal experience, co-founder Katia Beauchamp is just a LOVELY person. And the concept of Birchbox is genius. There’s a reason it’s the most popular subscription beauty box in the game right now.

The Birchbox breakfast was SO CUTE!

Birchbox works with coveted beauty brands to curate a beauty experience for their subscribers. The box I recieved at brunch included an awesome gold nailpolish by Color Club, skincare by Dr. Jart, and makeup from Stila, amongst other cool items. My friend Carol says Birchbox is her FAVORITE. “Birchbox always provides me with most of the products I like. The boxes might be duds or seem like duds, but I have always found something I loved that I never thought I would.” And that’s the word from a beauty box fan. Birchbox is $10 a month, click here to join.

 

CurlBox

For natural hair product junkies, trying all the new products on the market can be expensive and overwhelming. CurlBox was the first beauty box for curly girls out of the gate, and I can testify to its awesomeness! Even for me as a beauty blogger who’s tried just about every brand, CurlBox has introduced me to new products (in generous travel sizes or full sizes, which I love). So far I’ve seen full size samples of Nothing But, Eden Body Works, Hair Rules, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Design Essentials, and Kynx, and I discovered Groove Therapy’s Eradicate Detoxifying Hair Cleanser through CurlBox, and I really am loving how it makes my scalp feel during these hot summer days. Thanks, CurlBox! CurlBox costs $20 a month, but subscriptions are currently sold out. Click to get on their list.

 

Glossybox


I’m newest to Glossybox, and it’s the newest stateside subscription beauty package. GlossyBox only recently launched here, this beauty box has subscribers in more than 15 countries and is popular in Europe. They pride themselves on international trend scouting. The box includes luxe brands like Phyto, C.O Bigelow, and Zoya nailpolish. I’m attracted to the international angle of Glossybox – look out for a more detailed review when I’ve had a chance to give it a test drive. A subscription to Glossybox costs $21. Click here to get yours.

 

My Shade of Brown

For my bellas who love indie brands and supporting your fellow entrepreneurs, there’s the My Shade of Brown pillowbox. My Shade of Brown is made by a woman of color and intended to suit the skin, hair, and specific beauty needs of deeper skin tones. Recent included items were Nourishea Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Mango Conditioner, Komplexx Blends Lip Creme and a Dead Sea Facial Mud Mask — and the pillowbox costs just $10 a month. Click here to subscribe to My Shade of Brown.

 

There are SO many beauty box subscription services on the market, this post is just the tip of the iceberg! Check out SubscriptionBoxes.com for reviews of these and more.

Are you a beauty box junkie? Which do you subscribe to?

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Comments

  1. I love this article! I am a curlBOX VIP Member and have been subscribed before the 1st box was even sent! LOL I love curlBOX and it has made it sooooo much easier on my wallet! :-)

    That being said – I think I want to subscribe to BirchBox too! LOL *looks at wallet* Thanks for sharing!

    • Sharon McElroy says:

      It all your fault Marisol!!!! I signed up for Birch Box AND the Brown Box! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr my pocketbook is screaming!

  2. got a try some of this.thanks

  3. Hi there! It’s Brittney from My BrownBox. This is a great write up, we look forward to being added to the list per our launch!

    Cheers,
    Brittney/ My BrownBox

  4. I loathe getting perfume in my Birchbox lol

  5. I was giving a subscription to bluum box, a mom and baby subscription box, as a gift.

  6. While I love reading about beauty products my finicky skin won’t have it. The nail polish junkie in me loves Julep’s Maven subscription.

  7. Dionne Victor says:

    I’m a Birchbox fan and love that you get one full-sized product each month along with your samples.

  8. LOVE the article! I actually may try Glossybox.

    I’m a fan of the pale pink packaging and brands I actually recognize :)

  9. You said many good things about Birchbox but you didn’t mention that just recently they have included more deluxe sized products. Birchbox seems too good to be true. I mean $10 bucks for a box that gives you small sample size products that sometimes end up being already half empty by the time you open your box doesn’t sound too good.

    Sorry folks that was my experience.

  10. Hi Girls!
    Thanks for sharing ;-)
    I have just discovered a new Beauty Box that is just amazing!! Its name is Betrousse (betrousse.co.uk), it’s a french based company.
    There’s only full-sized products inside, you don’t have to subscribe: you buy it only if you like it! Prices are very nice: you get the box for only £19 instead of £130 or £150!!
    As they’re french, we discover french quality brands.
    Have you already try it? I buyh already 2 boxes, and i really love it!

  11. I tried Birchbox and was not crazy about it. I just recently cancelled. My favorites are Popsugar, Cravebox, and Sample Society. You can read my blog for detailed descriptions of those – beauty4divas.blogspot.com . I’m addicted to subscription boxes!

  12. Unfortunately one tweet later and I’m in deep. Can’t wait for my first Wantable and BeautyBox 5 boxes. Birch Box is a 4-week wait, but I’m in for that one whenever they say “go!”

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