Photo Credit: glossybox.com
Monthly beauty box subscriptions seem to be all the rage these days. In fact, there are so many on the market that you may be hard pressed to choose – and not all were created equal. One of the most well known subscriptions, Birchbox, has stirred up quite a buying fever among consumers with its smart offerings, lean price and deluxe brands, but the landscape now is becoming much more competitive.
So, how do you find the best beauty box subscription for you? Here is an overview and our reviews on the best of the best.
BIRCHBOX ($10 per month): Created by two Harvard students Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox was a direct response to the fact that the beauty landscape was very cluttered and confusing. They wondered how to learnwhat products were best, and how to use them. Hence, a monthly beauty box subscription (aka a “curated box”) was born. Birchbox is not the first of its kind, but thanks to good marketing, it is certainly the most famous – at least for now. The box promises to bring you the best in beauty, grooming and lifestyle and arrives on your doorstep in pretty pink and blue togs. The monthly offerings are seasonally appropriate: for example, June’s box includes Spanish self-tanning towelettes, theBalm® cosmetics Stainiac tinted gel blush for a just bitten look, Supergoop Endless Summer SPF 30+ Everyday UV Lotion (perfect for Coney Island), and Borghese Crema Saponetta Cleansing Bar for Face and Body among other offerings.
Now, Birchbox has become more creative with partnerships, and they have collaborated with Glamour Magazine to offer the “Five Senses of Summer” box to coincide with the magazine’s July issue (on stands now). The box includes the following goodies:
See It: Stila and Color Club to showcase the latest cosmetics trends;
Hear It: Custom designed headphones and a Glamour edited “prettifying” playlist on Spotify – plus a month of free premium service on Spotify in every box;
Feel It: AHAVA and Alterna® for skin and hair;
Smell It: Oscar de la Renta fragrance to keep you uplifted.
Taste It: LÄRABAR and Tea Forté for your snack cravings.
Bottom line: If you like sample sizes and a good, solid vetted variety of products at a truly affordable price, then jump on the bandwagon!
GLOSSYBOX ($21 per month): This deluxe-size competitor is upping the ante by offering travel size international brands to U.S. customers.
With a tag line called “Discover the World of Beauty,” Glossybox is the real deal, and gives you five travel-sized products delivered to your doorstep every month. Unlike Birchbox which primarily gives you sample size products, Glossybox gives you much more bang for your buck (the monthly subscription fee is $21). Here are a few pointers about signing up with Glossybox:
- A High End Looking Box: I used to love getting Birchbox delivered to my door, but I have to confess, Glossybox’s presentation really has them beat. The gorgeous pale pink box looks like something you’d get at Henri Bendel, and the packaging, with thin tissue paper featuring travel landmarks from around the world, a gorgeous pink grosgrain ribbon, and an international beauty trends booklet are just some of the extras that will make your beauty heart go zing!
- Cancel Anytime: Like Birchbox, you can cancel Glossybox anytime. If you pay in advance for a six month subscription, you’ll save $11; if you pay for a 12 month subscription, you’ll save $32.
- Luxe and International Brands: This month’s Glossybox, for instance, features Amorepacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (a full whopping 1.7 oz is worth $100 itself and this is a deluxe travel-sized edition); Burberry Beauty Lip Mist Natural Sheer Lipstick Copper No.202 ($30); Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste ($7); Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask for Dry Hair ($38) and a full mini collection of Zoya’s Summer 2012 – Beach and Surf Collection ($8). These are brands that every woman would be proud to own and use, and $21 isn’t bad for all these items!
- Sell Out: Glossybox is one of the few subscription boxes that does sell out–so you need to act fast to reserve yours.
Bottom line: These TSA-approved products are great finds because they fit in your gym bag and give you better value than purchasing them individually.
SAMPLE SOCIETY ($15 per month): Branded as a “limited membership Sample Society,” BeautyBar has partnered with Allure Magazine to deliver five fresh deluxe-size samples from luxury brands, along with a mini bag and a years’ subscription to Allure. By building brand VIP status with the phrase “membership is limited,” BeautyBar aims to be much more than your more accessible Birchbox. In July, they’re partnering with CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) to offer an exclusive The Insiders’ Choice Beauty Box, which features 11 products selected as the industry’s most innovative picks during the 18th Annual CEW Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards. As far as partnerships go, this is a special box, valued at $109 but retailing at $25. In these days where “value” has become the rich buzzword, this kind of partnership is exactly what one is looking for.
For one week only, from July 2 to July 8, you can have a chance to win The Insiders’ Choice Beauty Box by entering Beautyinthebag.com’s GORGEOUS GIVEAWAY.
BEAUTYARMY ($12 per month): Beauty Army is the only monthly subscription box that allows you to choose which samples you’ll receive, so in that aspect, it’s much more personalized than the others, so this is really for the gal who wants total control of her curated samples. With brands ranging from Korres to Joico, the BeautyArmy subscriber has the option to choose what she gets.
Bottom line: this subscription is for the picky subscriber who doesn’t mind not being surprised.
While these subscriptions rarely give you full size items (the only exception is Glossybox which sometimes offers them), it’s always empowering to try before you buy.