One of the newer trends in the beauty industry is the subscription service. It usually means paying a set amount of money a month to receive a box full of goodies in the mail. Different boxes have different levels of customization and vary in price, brands sent, and so on. I have maintained a subscription to at least one at a time for the past two years or so because they’re a great way to accumulate travel-friendly items and maintain a strict beauty budget while still getting to try out new things.
As someone who loves shopping online, enjoys trying new things, loves getting packages in the mail, travels a lot (yay for trial- and travel-sizes!) and is a sucker for “try this with a coupon code!”-type Facebook ads, I’ve sampled several of the beauty box offerings out there.
One of the first to get really popular is Birchbox. Birchbox is known for its premium offerings and often includes a new or to-be-released item from a cult favorite brand. Back when I subscribed, there wasn’t much in the way of customization. I ended up unsubscribing after one month where I received nothing but fancy sunscreens followed by one where I received a premium lipstick and blush that were both far, far too pink for my neutral-leaning-warm, tan skin. To me, Birchbox didn’t seem to care enough for the needs of its customers of color. They have since started customizing more, so that may have changed.
Another I’ve tried but didn’t like is Beauty Box 5. They offer no customization options and the brands I was sent were not close to being on the nicer end of things. I ended up giving away most of the items I received and straight-up throwing away one of them because it was so awful.
I subscribed to Julep Maven Box for a few months. The quality of their items and the price are excellent, but I realized that, since I don’t have the time to regularly do manicures anymore, I was going to end up with piles of unused polishes. I was to find that cancelling Julep requires a phone call during business hours. Given that you can sign up in minutes at any hour of the day online, I think it’s borderline unethical to require people to make a phone call within a limited number of hours in a day in order to cancel.
My current subscription is to Ipsy Glam Bag (full disclosure: if you use this link to sign up, I get referral points). I’ve had it for three months now and have been enjoying it so far. To me, it strikes a middle ground between catering to my preferences and surprising me. Everything they’ve sent me so far has been useful. Plus, the little zip-up bags that the samples come in and the mailing envelope are both quite cute.
There are lots of other beauty box services out there now, both general and specialty style. Feel free to share your experiences with them.