Rant & Rave: Beauty Subscription Boxes

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Beauty Subscription Boxes

Just not my thing–I think I am just too busy testing other products that I never end up getting to travel or deluxe sized items, and I just… don’t want random stuff.

P.S. — Thanks to Nichele for this week’s topic!

— Christine

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I have considered subscribing but didn’t for the same reasons that Christine mentioned. I know I won’t use everything and likely would not care for some things and I don’t want anymore products laying around.

Rave: Most of them are less expensive way of trying products from a variety of brands. They’re great for discovering new brands. It’s fun to get a surprise every month. I think boxes from indie brands are the most fun.

Rant: You can end up with a lot of items you don’t want or don’t like. Waiting lists can be long.

Hi, Paige! My favorite indie brands are Notoriously Morbid, Darling Girl, OCC, Apocalyptic Beauty (etsy), SauceBox, SugarPill, Ofra, Everyday Minerals, Espionage Cosmetics, Lunatick Cosmetics Labs, and Tater Rounds (etsy). I like what I’ve tried of Fyrrinae, but haven’t tried a lot yet.

I like Notoriously Morbid’s Vanishing Cabinet sub box, and Medusa’s Make-up sub box. I have some friends who really like Petit Vour’s box.

Boxycharm is good because it includes full sized products and lately a lot of the products have been from high end brands – and core products. I think Boxycharm is the best by far. I also like Sephora Play. It is samples but I take them with me on trips and business travel. I have discovered some good stuff with Sephora Play and have purchased full sizes for some of them. I like that the brands are known brands and easy to find. Burchbox is a lot of money for cheap samples. They enveloped which is disappointing. I don’t recommend birchbox. I tried 3 months of hlossybox a few years ago and they sent crap that was discontinued and just bad stuff overall. Ipsy isn’t bad but they send a lot of cheap brands and the products just didn’t fit with my makeup preferences.

Yeah I’ve tried a bunch of them and the only one I liked was Notoriously Morbid’s Vanishing Cabinet. I have super sensitive skin and I’m really picky about skin care and color cosmetics, so subscription boxes just end up being MAYBE 1 item I like and a bunch of stuff I end up getting rid of (like Ipsy where on the survey I specifically said that I hated lip gloss…and they still sent me a lip gloss EVERY MONTH).

A lot of those boxes include unwanted samples that you get in the point rewards in Sephora anyway, and I’m over the deluxe sample phase. This is why i unsubbed from Sephora’s play box last year. There’s just too much unwanted stuff!

My son’s GF got me a three month subscription to Birchbox. Her thoughtfulness warmed my heart, but I didn’t really like the experience. Not for me.

I feel wasteful enough sometimes with what I have. I have a difficult time using points for ‘rewards’ I don’t terribly want and typically hand off big bags of samples to my mail carrier. I overall it would contribute to greater clutter. If I want to try something new, I usually research the crap out of it before taking the plunge.

Rave: Fun to get a “surprise” in the mail every month, might get to try a few luxury products that I would never purchase a full size of. Good impetus to get together with friends and swap the products that don’t work for you.

Rant: Too many boring neutrals, moisturizers, and primers. Samples so small you can barely even squeeze any product out of the tube. Products that arrive broken. And when you finally decided to unsubscribe, the next month they send out something you would have really liked to have received!

In my experience, some of these subscription boxes send really good samples as PR to people (and pay them to rave about how the box is a great value). And then normal people like me get the same month’s box and end up with foil packets and cheap deluxe samples. I also feel like the cost really adds up over time … $120 for a Year of Sephora play boxes is a lot to pay for samples!

Ipsy and Birchbox don’t make me excited. They’re tiny samples from obscure brands. Boxycharm really excites me though, because they give you all full sizes and often have great brands!

I briefly considered subscribing, but decided against it. I watched unboxing videos of the various subscription services and was unimpressed, so I’d rather spend the money on specific products I really want.

I have tried many of the sample subscription boxes… they are nice for a time, but then you get overwhelmed with wasteful things you’ll never use. I have only one subscription now… Beauty Heroes. I love it. Especially since I have a soy allergy and they are willing to work around that for me. The items are stellar and the customer service is unmatched in their quality. Highly recommend.

I got a 3month sub from a friend and I enjoyed the surprise/anticipation each month, but honestly I would never get one for myself. I think it meant more that it was gift from a thoughtful friend.

But inside, you get stuff you basically would never buy on your own, and the best case scenario is you think of something else to buy. You can do that on your own! Out of those 3 months, the most valuable things have been two hair treatment sprays, and the realization that I don’t like MILK stick products. The rest have been de-cluttered, and am absolutely sure I wouldn’t have paid $30 for what I ended up keeping and liking.

Been subbed to Ipsy for well over a year and a half now. Some of what I’ve gotten has been some great stuff from brands I otherwise never would’ve heard of. However, it has also reached the point where I just have way too many minis and deluxe samples collecting around here. So, between that and receiving many things I don’t really care for; I’m DONE.
There are some beauty boxes that intrigue me even now, though.

It’s a no for me. I feel like they’re a blind buy if that makes sense. Maybe if I had the option to pick my own stuff out to try from numerous offerings. And it seems like some companies keep dumping the same exact samples out to people. Almost as if it’s an after thought or they just have too much stock of something that didn’t sell. However, it’s a good way to try out new items that you may not think to look into otherwise.

I did unfortunately get sucked into trying one subscription box, I was so excited to see that it was available in Canada. I regret my choice here, as much like Christine I’d rather only purchase what I know I’ll like rather than get things picked for me that I probably won’t care for. But for now the things I receive will turn into gifts for others. I will not renew my subscription. I will not buy other boxes. Lesson learned.

The only one that filled a need for me was Choix, which is no longer around-the last I heard. It was useful because it wasn’t random. Each sample received was from a product that I chose and wanted to try before buying. After realizing that so many of my cosmetics purchases were made because I was curious I decided to join Choix in an effort to curtail those spending habits. It worked, sometimes products were not as good as the hype, other times I realized that a drugstore product was as good, there were times that my interest in a product waned at the same time as I finished the sample and a very few times I ended up using Choix credits to buy a full size of an item that I now knew I loved.
So Choix (or a subscription service like Choix) is the only monthly box I would ever consider again. The others I have joined just ended up creating clutter and I never stayed with any of them for long.

I have been tempted so many times but I have a hard enough time finding things that work for me when I’m ordering intentionally – let alone random stuff!

Everyone has different skin and coloring – not everything works on everyone!

They intrigue me, then I start to think, what will I do with the things I don’t want, that’s enough for me not to subscribe and just research the things that I really do want to purchase. Win-win for me.

I get Birchbox whenever they have an extra box offer. I’ve gotten some nice things! SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo (and two very large foil packets of the smoothie), Arrow Endure Water Resistant Mascara, Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner, Briogio Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner, Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo, Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle, and some other cool things.

I have tried Ipsy, Birchbox, Sephora Play, BoxyCharm and Curlkit at various points over the years. If you are just starting your makeup collection they can be fun and back when Birchbox had a good points system I actually got my first high end foundation for free through that box.

Rave: They can have interesting items from different brands you never thought to try and are a good way to build a collection.

Rant: After a while you’ll get a lot of repetitive samples and things you don’t want/need and the price does add up over time.

I would suggest the strategy I use with boxycharm. Since you can start a subscription and get the same box that month I always wait to see all the items in the box then subscribe, get the box then unsubscribe. They always talk about the waitlist but I must have good luck because I’ve never been on the waitlist longer than a few days. That way I get boxes I like to try specific things but I don’t feel like I’m wasting money by stays subscribed all the time.

Rave: I get really excited each month when my box is sent and I feel like it’s Christmas morning when I finally receive it and get to open it. I like discovering products I may never have considered otherwise, testing out new brands and trying colors I wouldn’t necessarily have picked. They’re usually not very expensive, so it’s a small investment for a fun experience.

Rant: the selection of products in most boxes is abysmal. I subscribed to Ipsy for a while and just kept receiving crappy makeup products from random mineral makeup indie brand I had never heard of. I’m currently subscribed to Sephora Play, and at least all the brands I receive are of interest to me. However they seem to “recycle” samples that they offered as GWP or loyalty programs rewards a little too often. Overall I think what these companies promise and what they actually offer is quite different: they claim that you’ll receive a curated selection of exciting products, however their business model is to reach out to brands and sell them a spot in their box for a product they’re trying to promote. So you don’t get what you may want as a consumer, you get what brands try to sell. Brands whose strategy is to do a lot of sampling end up being repeated in multiple boxes, and some of the trendier brands just don’t need to spend money on that kind of promotion, so they’ll never be in a box.

When I was a teenager I received one forgot the name but I don’t want extra needless surprise stuff that may not even like. Haven’t ordered ever since!

I had Sephora’s box subscription for about a year, and I was pretty consistently disappointed in it. The lipsticks always seemed to be bright pink or rusty brown, and I wouldn’t use them. I don’t much like small samples of skincare, because you can’t really tell if it works in a short amount of time. I’ve accumulated a ton of sample-size items I might not ever use.

I’ve had fun with five subscriptions, Allure, Sephora, Beautyfix by Dermstore also Ipsy and Birchbox. There are many items I like and many so so. I do have a daughter, adult granddaughter and a five year old get granddaughter. Many samples go to my two older girs and lip glosses to my grt grand. I also pass them out to girlfriends and their adult daughters.
I like the first three boxes best. Beautyfix sends several deluxe samples and full sized samples based on my skin type and preferences. Although Ipsy and Birch box can be fun at times, I will be cancelling both soon as they don’t seem to listen to my preferences.

I was thinking of trying boxy charm it sounded like a good one.

The only subscription I have is to fragrance and it’s just my 2nd month and Tom Ford is coming in the white bottle. I’m incredibly picky about fragrance and a whole bottle takes me forever to use.

So fun I’m doing 2 services Scentbox and Scentbird. Scentbox has more variety of high end and Scentbird you can order the monthly vials as much as you want. I’ve gotten about 6 vials and have liked all of them and found one I love Figue by Molinard.

The con is they don’t have every fragrance like the Elizabeth and James Nirvana. I probably won’t do it forever I dislike all recurring charges but I’m loving it.

You get a months worth and can pick your fragrance or not!

I got a three-month subscription to the LookFantastic beauty box and I liked some stuff while I detested some other things they sent me. I don’t regret my subscription but it ended up being a lot of things I had no use for, so I may not get another subscription any time soon, but it was fun 🙂

I’d never heard of beauty boxes prior to this thread. Okay, Sephora Play, but that doesn’t seem to be anywhere near available in Canada. After checking some of the ones noted below, I took out a three month to Boxycharm (I looked at past boxes first) and they ship to Canada for $5 month.
I figure it’s worth a try. I’ll give anything away I know I won’t use rather than waste it.

I would actually love to subscribe to beauty boxes again, sadly the ones we have here are not as good as the US based one. The first and last box I subscribed to gave me full size shampoo and conditioners for 3 months. Maybe if I search now we might have more options here in the Philippines

What I love about these kind of services is that I get a surprise monthly, I think of it as a gift. The downside is there might be months where you dont like more than half of the stuff you get. It really is a gamble

I LOVE them. I have tried almost all of them, and kept some and stopped others. Even though everything isn’t perfect for me, I try just about everything I get sent. I haven’t had to buy skincare in a really long time, and my skin has never looked better, since these boxes have me taking much better care of it, using masks and toners etc. I have discovered some holy grail faves that I have re-purchased that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I truly enjoy my beauty subscriptions and look forward to them each month.

I go to a lot of effort and research to avoid getting things that don’t work for me; I have no interest in being sent random or semi-random products, no matter how “carefully curated” they are.

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