Makeup / Moolah

My Thoughts on Subscription Beauty Boxes

Ever since becoming beauty/makeup obsessed, I’ve been into subscription beauty boxes. These subscriptions usually have a monthly or quarterly delivery that include sample and sometimes full-sized beauty products. I LOVE beauty boxes because they allow me to try new products without a huge investment. Over the past two years, I’ve subscribed to my fair share of these boxes and have some thoughts that may help you with a potential purchase.


My first beauty box was from Birchbox. YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen (MissGlamorazzi) was the first person I heard talking about Birchbox which led me to many other YouTubers’ unboxing videos. I never heard of a $10/month beauty box subscription service before and immediately jumped on the bandwagon purchasing a year-long subscription.

At first it was fun getting a cute little box, wrapped up in pink tissue paper each month, but this excitement quickly wore off when the contents continued to be sample sized, foil packets month after month. Talk about disappointing. I would say 95% of my boxes contained a majority of these awful samples that you can pickup at Sephora or makeup counters (with much larger sizes) for free. Why pay for that? I knew by the third box that I would be cancelling my subscription as soon as the year was up (which I did).

The highlights of my time with Birchbox are two – an Essie glitter nail polish and a full size Tarte LipSurgence lip pencil. Although these are two fantastic items, these were the best things I got for my $110 annual subscription. Womp womp. Based on other’s recent blog posts, Birchbox seems to be stepping up its game, but I’m not convinced enough to re-purchase (yet).

MyGlam / Ipsy

Michelle Phan’s MyGlam bag was my second beauty subscription service. I was lucky enough to jump on it immediately as it launched in December of 2011. With Michelle’s powerful, international following, I took the chance and ordered an annual subscription before the first bag even came out.

The first bag was one of the best carrying a full-sized Urban Decay eye shadow, mini Urban Decay Primer Potion, NYX lip gloss (and I forget what else), although every bag is pretty good. I will say that recently (as in the past 6 months) this service has been a bit lacking in my eyes. I’m not nearly as impressed with the service as I was in the beginning. MyGlam, now called Ipsy, does incorporate some indie/unknown names into each bag, but there’s always a household makeup brand name. This subscription mostly focuses on color cosmetics, with a few skin, nail and hair care items thrown in every once in a while.

I would recommend this subscription to any makeup lover. I feel that I’ve gotten a pretty good deal out of my Ipsy subscription and am currently on my second annual subscription. When December comes around (for another renewal) I’m not sure that I will re-purchase purely for the fact that I am a little overwhelmed with my makeup collection and there is no need for me to ever purchase any more. We’ll see though…I will keep you updated.


Glossybox was my third beauty subscription and my most anticipated! Glossybox has been making headlines for quite some time across the Atlantic and finally moved to ‘Merica in 2012. Glossybox is a bit more expensive than the monthly subscriptions like Birchbox or My Glam/Ipsy, but it also has more luxury brands behind it thus the higher price.

Unlike MyGlam/Ipsy, I was not able to get Glossybox for the first 2 or 3 months I believe because their subscriptions were “full”. I was so disappointed because the YouTubers that I watch all got their amazing PR samples of the box which was simply amazing for those first few months.

Once I finally got the first box in my six month subscription, I was so utterly disappointed. I received nice sized products, but from brands I had never heard of! Then, in my next few boxes, I received great brand name products (Ellis Faas, Illamasqua, Missha, etc.) but clearly they were the reject colors. The Missha BB cream was clearly for someone 12 times darker than me, the Illamasqua nail polish was lime green, and the Ellis Faas lip gloss/stain was an orange muddy mess. So disappointing. I cannot think of one product that I still have from my Glossyboxes except for the boxes themselves which are sturdy, lined and beautiful. The boxes were probably the best part of the subscription which says it all.

 QVC / New Beauty Test Tube 

The Test Tubes were my last subscriptions most likely spurred on by EmilyNoel83 from YouTube. QVC and New Beauty each have separate Test Tube subscriptions, which are pretty similar in content. They each use many of the same brands, cost about the same price and each delivered quarterly. The only difference I have found is that one box is much more make-up oriented while the other is more skin-care focused; I forget which is which – sorry.

Although recently, New Beauty has branched out from its similar cousin, QVC, and is now delivering every other month in updated packaging, promising a full-sized product in each box. For instance this past month was the first box with the new changes and I received a full-sized It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Powder Brush valued at $48 in addition to other items that I love like a La Roche-Posay cleanser, It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Keratin treatment, Smashbox Photo Finish primer, and a Mally eyeliner, plus a few other things. Generally items in both boxes are either full-sized or deluxe samples (rarely will you see a foil packet in these boxes).

Although I do not love every item in every box, I think I’ve gotten the most use out of these products than from any other beauty subscription service. I’ve had the least amount of “regret” or second thoughts about this service, which leads me to believe I’m the most happy with it, despite the higher price (which is around $40-$50/quarter with the shipping costs).

Winner: Test Tubes! For the money, these are BY FAR the best deal (in my humble opinion). It comes out around the same $10/month price as most beauty boxes, but you get many, many more full-sized options from name brands that you’ve actually heard of before.

Overall, I think subscription beauty boxes are a really fun way to try out new products in a non-committal way. Although I am now at a point where I know what I like in my skin care and makeup, so I am probably not the best candidate for one of these services, I still enjoy them. I encourage everyone to at least try out a subscription box for a least a month or two to see if it’s up your alley. Plus they make great gifts to fellow beauty lovers!

Do you subscribe to beauty boxes? Which ones and why?



9 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Subscription Beauty Boxes

  1. Pingback: My Top 13 Beauty Products of 2013! | prettytrippy

  2. Pingback: 14 Makeup Usage Goals for 2014 | prettytrippy

  3. Pingback: Warning to Ipsy Subscribers! | prettytrippy

  4. Pingback: Keepin’ it Teal | prettytrippy

  5. Pingback: So Trashy: Empties Winter 2014 | prettytrippy

  6. Pingback: 2014 Makeup Usage Goals: Midpoint Check-Up | PrettyTrippy

  7. Pingback: Blogging… One Year Later | PrettyTrippy

Tell me something new.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s