Monday, August 13th, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


Have you tried a beauty subscription service? If so, which ones? How did you like your experience? (Think Birchbox, Glossybox, etc.) Is it worth it?

Temptalia's AnswerI haven’t been impressed by them overall, but I’m one of those people who would only see value if they were full-sized (and always that way) and products geared towards my interests (maybe a box that’s just for eyes, lips, cheeks, etc. or bright colors, anti-acne, glitter, etc.). I keep seeing boxes with skincare packets of $300/oz. products – but you get maybe one or two uses. You can’t exactly see if something works with only two uses. Other times, the products seem like shades that weren’t selling well or are just about to be discontinued (and sometimes, just really old stock). I get BarkBox (for dogs), but I probably wouldn’t do it again (not at full price – I got a deal on Fab.com that made it cheaper) – it’s too much of a grab bag, I guess, and I’d rather spend the monthly subscription fee on one good toy/treat.

Thanks to Jackie for today’s question! Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

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64 thoughts on “Have you tried a beauty subscription service?

  1. Carrie

    I’ve occasionally been tempted, but have never bit. They feel too much a gamble to me, especially with reviews I’ve seen. It feels like for all they promise to match products too you the services seem to pay that more a lip service than anything. It also feels like some of the bigger companies that give away product that’s older and cluttering up the shelves.

    If it takes $30 and 3 months to get one item that not only works for me and I love, I rather just spend the $30 on something I know I’ll like and skip the wait and the headache. :)

    • Laurie

      I’ve tried Birchbox, The Look Bag (now discontinued), GlamBag and QVC’s Beauty Tube. The only one I am keeping is the Beauty Tube and the GlamBag because my teen loves it. The Beauty Tube is pricier but worth it. It has large sizes of products I use and QVC brands I know, Mally, Tarte, Wen, Philosophy. Birchbox and Look Bag were full of products that I couldn’t use (hair oil?) and brands I had never heard of and most were in teensy little packets or tiny glass vials similar to the sample sizes given out at Sephora. I’d rather spend that $10 on a full sized product in a color that I choose.

      • I’m going to look into Beauty Tube, since a lot of people seem to like that!

        I remember BeautyFix tried doing full-sizes, but I think the quarterly fee was a little steep and they didn’t have enough big brands on board and had a lot of skincare/hair products.

        • Kim

          I get Glossybox, Birchbox and QVC Test tube. I loved my first two Test Tubes but the last one was a bit of a disappointment. It was filled with more drugstore brands than premier brands. I like that you get New Beauty magazine with it which is usually something I would buy anyway. Birchbox has been hit or miss for me. I got a full sized Stila Liquid eyeliner….great, and a leopard print ziploc bag….not so great. I had super high hopes for Glossybox but so far it has been a bit of a let down.

  2. Ha, I guess when you get actual boxes of full size products from companies to review for your site every month, the allure of samples kindof wears off.

    Christine is #notimpressed

    ;)

    Birchbox is best hands down, Julep is great for polish, myglam is working on getting better, Glossybox is up in the air for me. QVC New Beauty Testtube is great, but only quarterly. I know people love sample society, I haven’t tried that one yet, but thinking of canceling Glossybox and switching to Sample Society

    BarkBox is one for doggies, they have a competitor but the name escapes me.
    Foodzie was fun while it lasted, but it got acquired, oh the woes of falling in love with a start-up, they never last.

    • I wouldn’t say that, as I have never liked receiving little packets of skincare for as long as I’ve been buying from Sephora, Nordstrom etc. I’ve never been a fan of GWPs, just because I never use anything in them, and this has been true for as long as I’ve been blogging and before. Part of the reason being they’re usually not things I can use or would use, and then storing them is kind of a pain.

  3. Kellie

    I am subscribed to Birchbox. I really do love it! I am not the type of person to believe the hype on expensive products. I hate wasting large amounts of money for a name or brand. $10.00 a month lets me try out products that I would never purchase in a million years. Most of the time, I am able to convince myself that they are not worth the excessive prices.

  4. Not yet! I’ve been tempted to, but again, it would stink to pay for a box full of items I really didn’t care to try or weren’t even made for my skin/hair type.
    Looking forward to seeing the responses to this to see if I get swayed. ;]

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mirian Vermeulen mirian

      It does stink. I love the idea of getting a pretty box full of goodies in the mail, but only using 25% of it definitely brings down the giddiness of it. Glossy boxes do make very pretty storage containers though ;)

  5. Trish

    I love the idea, but I’ve had the worst luck with Birchbox. The last three months they’ve failed to mail my boxes and I have to email them to send. No expedited shipping to fix the wrong, this last time when I emailed them, they cancelled my subscription without my notice and just refunded me the difference. I would of liked my last two on time and maybe extend my subscription, but nope! I would never buy from them or recommend their service. I’ll have to try another company to see if they have better customer service.

  6. I agree–I’d rather save my money for 1 nice product that I’ll actually use. I was really tempted for a while to try one, but I just couldn’t get on board with all the random crap I was seeing. Granola bars? Ear buds? Tiny vials of perfume that you can get free at any department store? No thanks.

    • It seems like a lot of them have skincare and hair products (which I think may be two categories where people need to try products for extended periods of time, but also that it can drastically differ from person to person). I haven’t seen granola bars yet, LOL!

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shannon shannon

    I have tried a few.

    I loved Birchbox when I first started. I even got the Men’s version for my husband and he liked it at first. I found a lot of products that I had never heard of and now use all the time. Eventually, it kinda seemed like it was always the same type of things or items that I had no use for. I cancelled several months ago.

    GlamBag I still get since I paid for a year up front, I actually got one in today and overall I am happy with it. The items aren’t really high end, just kinda fun and the sizes are great. I got a full size nail polish and lip gloss along with 4 sample sized products.

    Glossybox is new to the U.S. and is the one I stalk the mailman for. If anyone is thinking about trying one…this is the one I would suggest. The price is higher than some of the others but, you get big sample sizes or full size.

    Also, for samples that I don’t use, I just bring them with me to girls’ night in. Everyone has fun trying them all.

  8. I feel very similarly to you. I’ve reviewed a few beauty services and been disappointed by most. I don’t feel like I’d be happy with the money spent. It irks me to fill out a questionnaire and then receive the same thing as everyone else. I’ve got quite a list of requirements too, so I know I’m picky: cruelty-free, sulfate-free, nothing silly like shaving creme, I just want things like eyeshadow, blush, lip products, nail polish, etc.

    • Me too :) I think it might be a cool concept to have boxes up for grabs and you select the one you’re interested in that month – maybe it’s for eyes, or it’s a theme like “how to wear a red lip.”

  9. freshpinklips

    I was awfully tempted by MyGlam when it first came out because they gave out UD eyeshadow as one of the 5 or 6 items for $10. But I’m glad i didn’t go for it because in the following months it kinda went into the path of skincare and spa items that I don’t really care for. Some items are cool but some months are just misses. I suppose the gamble is inherent in the concept. But still I would rather get something I truly want with the money instead of taking a chance and getting something I might not like.

  10. Alexandra

    Im currently subscribed to glossybox uk, my 3rd box currently on its way, I agree I wish products were tailored to individual needs. My 1st box wasnt so great, but loved my 2nd, anxious to see what my 3rd box holds. I think not knowing what you’re going to get is part of the excitement, but it’s still a trial period for me, I may unsubscribe if our profiles are not used soon to tailor the boxes to our needs. Especially bring a darker skinned girl, I find sometimes the colours don’t suit, or I keep getting tanning products!!!

  11. JP

    No, they are not worth the expense and the trouble of waiting every month.

    Richie Nickel has just uploaded a very persuasive video about how to get samples and avoiding beauty boxes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cld5dQHnNo8

    Good luck

  12. I subscribe to Birchbox, Eco Emi, and New Beauty Test Tube. I’ve found it to be a great way to discover some products and brands I would have never tried otherwise. I also love unwrapping my “gifts” each month. It’s been worth it to me.

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Sarah sarah

    I subscribed to BarkBox, and I am NOT impressed. Not only do most of the toys they send barely last three days, I’m sick of getting poopy bags and a couple treats. Not worth it.

    • I think the best thing they sent was the dog towel, though I haven’t used it. I don’t feed Mellan many treats since he’s on a calorie-specific diet and most treats don’t have calorie counts (such is the way of the dog treat industry!), so I only feed him a couple. He really likes the steak toy they sent recently… I know there was a purple toy or something rather you stuff with treats that was destroyed in minutes (and Mellan isn’t a destroyer – his stuffed bears and toys last a year or longer).

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Sarah sarah

        that purple toy was cool, but it got destroyed before I could try freezing anything in it. the towel was actually really cool, and my dogs are digging the steak.. but those were pretty big exceptions.

        • My favorite part about the steak? When Mellan is laying on the floor, I’ll push it under his head, and he’ll lay on it, and it squeaks–the look on Mellan’s face is PRICELESS!

  14. I’m subscribed to Glossybox, Glymm and Julep Maven. Julep maven is my favorite by far because you can choose to skip a month, and preview the colours before it ships and switch boxes if you don’t like yours. Glossybox has been a big disappointment and I’m canceling after giving it four months (unless this month is spectacular). Glymm I’ve only had for one month but a) I really like the bag and b) only one product was a total no go for me, all the others were nice.

    I like testing new products so in theory I like beauty boxes but so far in practice it’s been hit and miss for me.

  15. Yellowlantern

    I never really hear good things about them, and frequently I hear bad things about several different services, so I’ve kept far away.

  16. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mirian Vermeulen mirian

    I succumbed to glossybox USA. Apart from the lackluster products, I’ve been getting accidentally charged quite a bit. The full size products they include aren’t worth it honestly. This month they messed up, charged me three times (refunded me twice) and i got two boxes. One at my shipping address and one at my billing. I had two sets of samples i wasn’t going to use and my MOTHER didn’t even want to keep any of them when I tried to give her the extra box. :( $21 bucks is steep, but the box products usually amount to ~$45. A lot of people love the glossybox because they do see it as a good value and i know that people love trying new products.

    The reason I wanted to try glossybox was because on their website they advertised high end brands like Burberry, Amorepacific, COBigelow, Cargo, etc. Every month they change the brands they list on their website to more obscure ones and I don’t like the products. It was misleading.

    I’ll give it one more month, but if I get charged more than once again I will have to cancel.

  17. Dinitchka

    I think these services are a fantastic idea but not for me. I am so leary that I may not get any use from the items sent to me. THOUGH, I would like to try the doggie one for my pups … They are not too picky. LOL!

  18. I have tried about 4 or 5 of them. I still get birchbox and sample society but i’m almost always disappointed.

    but barkbox! i’ve never heard of it! going to check that out.

  19. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Tuss Tuss

    The thing is that Glossybox gets paid by the brands to send out their products, AND Glossybox charges YOU for the things they already are paid for sending out. Win-win for Glossybox. Also, a waste when you only receive small sizes, and don’t know what to expect.

  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laura LauraL.

    There have been a few good surprises, but overall I didn’t see the value. I did get into UD 24/7 eyeliners because of one I received in a subscription box, so I’d say for UD that was successful marketing(since I went out and bought 5 more). Other than that I’m pretty picky about skin care, so I’d prefer to have all cosmetics. Since there isn’t that much customization allowed I ended up discontinuing mine. It wasn’t bad, just not good enough to keep me paying.

  21. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Janeen Janeen

    I tried BirchBox from June to August. It was ok. Some stuff I will put to use, others, like a Stila cobalt blue glitter liquid eyeliner, I don’t know what the heck to do with. Seems too teenager-like to me. I cancelled it, not because $10 was too much, but because I’m starting nursing school, and like Christine said, I could have put those $30 to spend on the purple eyeshadow palette I’ve been craving, or towards the Nars eyeshadow primer.

  22. Elizabeth

    I had Birchbox for about a year. It started off great. I especially liked getting Zoya mini polishes. Unfortunately, Birchbox likes to throw in food (nothing I can eat) and cheap gimmicky stuff (stick-on eyeliner, stick-on nail stuff, stick-on eyeshadow shields). Ultimately, I started getting a Beauty Bar box and after two months, I was impressed. Just this month they sent me a full-size Deborah Lippmann polish.

  23. Not yet. I’ve got my eye on Michelle Phan’s service, myglam, though. I feel like it has more full sized products, and stuff I’d actually use. e.i: Urban Decay eyeliner, or Nyx lipstick.

  24. niche

    No I have not subscribed because I went on youtube to see what people got in their boxes and it was a disappointment. There’s maybe 1 or 2 things in each box out of 4 or 5 products that I like or find interesting. Or if they give a nice lipgloss, its a color I don’t like. So its a waste to spend $10 for one sample when I can probably get a lot of samples for free.

  25. I thought for a long time that it was better to save up & buy something you want, but then I was swayed by the way Birchbox does review points; basically, you review the items you receive for points, and then can buy items (anything you want) with your points. It sort-of brings the cost of the box down from $10/month to about $5/month.

    I’ve been subscribing now for three months, and it’s been worth it so far, but I wouldn’t buy a year long subscription – I like the ability to cancel anytime.

  26. Jennifer Fernandez

    I tried Birchbox but wasn’t impressed at all. So canceled that the other on I’ve had and liked so far is My Glam not every month is amazing but so far have like everything in it. Now I do agree and wish there was a subscription for just make up and nail stuff I don’t like the whole skin care product trial size. I know what I like and trying different products can break me out. I hardly to never use the trial size skin care product.

  27. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Emily 18thCenturyFox

    I can’t see the point in these? I’m honestly suprised when people were dissatisfied with what they got. You give your funds for some samples of fairly random things ( often despite profiles) or things that seem out date or experimental or the wrong color and it so strangely… Unappetizing. Sephora sends me these things for free when I place my orders, I think I will stick with that.

  28. I think at one point I was subscribed to them all (or so it seemed) – myGlam, Julep Maven, GlossyBox, Birchbox, and Beauty Army (mostly for my blog). I got rid of myGlam and Beauty Army because I didn’t really find them worth the money for me. I am giving GlossyBox one more month, but Birchbox was my first and favorite beauty box. I love that they include non-beauty items too that I wouldn’t normally buy. And as for Julep, I love their Mystery Box program.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mirian Vermeulen mirian

      I’m in the same boat with GlossyBox. One more month. I really disliked this last two boxes. They also seem to be having problems with there billing system since I’ve been charged multiple times. We’ll see for next month!

  29. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Aida Aida

    I look for very specific things for my make-up and skin care routine, I never just use random products, which makes these beauty boxes utterly useless for me. I’m not at all interested in random samples. Besides, the price tag is hardly worth it.
    The only subscription type thing I fell for is Julep Maven because I’m a bit of a nail polish junkie and they do give you full size bottles, plus extra products. As it turned out, I wasn’t at all happy with the formula, I didn’t think it was worth $20 every month so I cancelled it after the first shipment.

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Barbie Barbie

    no, i think they are a waste of money

  31. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kafka Kafka

    No, I haven’t tried any for all the reasons that you and others have stated. I think it would be very cool if a brand you liked made a beauty box just for their own stuff. Say, NARS, MAC, UD, MUFE or what have you. They could be deluxe sample sizes or occasionally, maybe a full size. I think that would be very cool and, even if it were a bit more expensive than regular beauty boxes, that is something I would gladly pay the money for.

    • Or maybe a service that has you tell them your top 5 brands and works to include at least 1 of those per box and uses those 5 to direct the other selections – e.g. if you love brands that tend to put out lots of color products, you’d get other brands like them. So maybe if you just like natural hues, you don’t have to worry about getting a bright blue eyeshadow!

  32. I’ve tried JolieBox GlossyBox and She Said Beauty Box in the UK and the only one I was impressed with was SSB. Jolie one day decided to cut down to 4 products and charge the same. Glossy never arrived on time and I always got things I didn’t like. She Said Beauty always seem to get it spot on with me. Might just be luck but they always give me great products that suit my needs and preferences and there is always a few full size products :)

  33. Carrie

    I love them!! I am really surprised so many people in the comments don’t like them. I think it’s a fabulous way to try out new products, because I’m always switching up my routine. For a few months with Glam Bag, I was very disappointed with what they gave us. Like…nail stickers? ugh.

    But the recent Glam Bags and Birchboxes have been amazing! I even found a tinted moisturizer through Birchbox (I would have never worn tinted moisturizer if I hadn’t tried it there). So I would say hip hip hooray to good boxes!

  34. Lauryn

    Never again! I joined BeautyFix awhile ago.. and in the beginning, it was fabulous! Full size Jonathon Product, really nice eyeshadows and then slowly, the items got cheap and ugly and useless. When you fill out a profile that askes your skin tone, eye color and hair color. Don’t send me a bronzer for dark skin. Don’t send me the same SPA items every three months.I never got the items i “chose” or they were “out of stock”. I’m PAYING for this stuff and it got ridiculous. And cancelling was a nightmare.. You have to CALL them. It always seems like I was on hold once i pushed the number “to cancel”..

  35. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Saffron Saffron

    I have the Julep one and have been very happy with it – the preview/change/cancel ability ensures I’ll never get sent something I don’t want. I did the BE shadow one for a while but find that I don’t like the clutter of all those little shadow jars. Both have given me colors that I look great in that I never would have tried on my own.

    I’d love to see a fragrance one, especially one that had a consistent range of more high end/less mainstream fragrances – those can be hard to shop for unless you live near a major urban shopping center, and something you wouldn’t want to buy blind.

  36. Liz

    I joined Glam bag for a year. I like I paid about $100 for one year. Honestly, I regret it. I’ve had about 3 shipments and I haven’t received anything that I really like. I wish I had done pay as you go, because I would have cancelled.

  37. Nicole

    No. And I never will.

  38. Erika

    I’m subscribed to BeautyFix and I love it! Especially since it’s quarterly and I have PLENTY of time to try things out before the next one. I got ONE MyGlam bag, and the only thing I actually used from it was the NuMe coupon thing.

  39. Alexandra

    I’ve been subscribed to Birchbox since January and I really love it. I’m surprised how many people have complaints. I usually get really great products of all types (hair products, makeup, perfume, body care, nail polish, skincare, etc.) Sometimes you get a dud but that’s what the service is for: samples to try and pick your favorites. You do get full-size items too every now and then, like I’ve received a Tarte lip pencil (so moisturizing!), a Stila eye liner, several full-sized nail polishes etc. It’s like a little Christmas present every month- highly recommended. <3

  40. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Erin Erin

    I tried LuxeBox and the first two boxes were good but it went sharply downhill from there. Although I’d signed up for perfume-free, they sent me perfume several times, but what’s worse is that they never really apologized for their mistake. I always seemed to get the crappy leftovers while beauty bloggers were getting Benefit, not to mention that I received the same products several times. They also sent me coffee as a “bonus.” I bloody hate coffee and never thought to tell them I didn’t want it in a beauty box…

    I got a couple of full-sized nail polishes, which were great, but I cancelled because their customer service was lax and the products were often absolute crap.

  41. I’ve had Birchbox and I just wasn’t impressed. Most of the time it was one or two items I was really interested in and the rest was a little bit of a letdown. Maybe that’s because they seem to be mostly skincare with some haircare, fragrance and like one or two makeup items? I’d much rather buy one item I know I want.

  42. beachgal

    They are not for me at all. I want to get items I want to use and/or try. I don’t like to get stuff I pay good $ for and not want/use the products. I have so much stuff that I have tossed out over the yrs – beauty mail clubs are only going to add to those piles I go through now and again and toss out and donate hordes of stuff. i would rather spend my $ on something planned and also the occasional impulse . I hate to have bills and subscription plans like these is just one more bill to make provisions for.

  43. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Teresa Teresa

    I had Birchbix for 5 months and really didn’t like it. I wasn’t interested in skin are or “lifestyle extras” and I not ONCE received a full size of anything. Except headphones. (!!!!) There was a single cosmetic item in each box. It did lead me to try TheBalm Stainiac, which is HG for me now since I’m big into layering cheek color… But 4 months at $10/mo was not worth the discovery.

  44. Rachel B

    I tried and canceled MyGlam and Sample Society. I never received an item that I fell in love with from those services. I still subscribe to Juelp Maven (love that you can cancel/skip a box) and QVC New Beauty Test Tube (every item I’ve received has been deluxe sample or full sized).

  45. Megan

    I subscribe to Birchbox and MyGlam. This was my first month with Birchbox and I’m not impressed at all. It was like they sent out a box full of leftover samples they wanted to get rid of. If next month isn’t better, I’m canceling. MyGlam on the other hand, I absolutely love. I’ve gotten full sized products every month with them, including a Josie Maran lip stain. Subscription services can be a gamble but I enjoy getting a surprise in my mailbox every month.

  46. I subscribe to Birchbox and BeautyBar monthly boxes. I absolutely love these boxes and look forward to them each month. My first BeautyBar box, I was not happy with, but I let them know and they were very open to my feedback, sent me a gift to apologize for my experience, and have since improved the boxes. I didn’t subscribe because I thought I’d get my money back in the items, I subscribed because I enjoy trying new products. I found that Sephora only gives me 3 samples with each order when I buy online, and I don’t have time to go to the store. However, these boxes absolutely pay for themselves. My Birchbox ALWAYS has 1 full size product. For example, one month I got the Stila One Step Bronze, which retails for $36. Since I only paid $10 for the box, this was clearly worth it.
    As far as skin care- I know you can’t see results after 1 use, but you can see if you like the smell, texture etc. I honestly like almost every item I get each month, and use them. What I don’t use, I give away to a friend. It’s been a great way for me to try products I normally wouldn’t, and on occasion I have purchased the full size item because I loved the sample so much. If they could customize the boxes even more, I think people would be happier. Obviously a 16 year old girl doesn’t need an anti-aging product for example. However, since Im in my 30s, I use everything they give me. The one thing I would like to see is more makeup and less perfume/skin care. I really love both of the services I subscribe to and won’t be giving either of them up any time soon.

  47. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Stephanie Stephanie

    No. I wanted to do it for a while, but to me it’s paying 10 bucks (or even more) a month for products you don’t even use. You can get free product if you work for it, but it’s stuff you want.

  48. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Lisa Lisa

    I have been disappointed with most of the ones I have tried, but I love my New Beauty Test Tube (QVC version) While it is more expensive than most you get a Copy of New Beauty magazine and 2 full size products the rest are generous deluxe samples.

  49. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shelley Shelley

    I tried glam bag from myglam. I chose it because I was hoping for something a little more personalized and with more cosmetic samples. I can only go through so many skin care trial items at a time and I never do my nails and almost never do anything with my hair, so I’m really only interested in cosmetic items with the occasionally skin care item. I cancelled after 2 months of getting very few makeup items and they were both items I can’t use anyway. If there was a kit that focused on makeup or could be personalized that way, I’d try again.