If you are active on any social media particularly Facebook or Instagram, you have probably been sucked into the subscription box craze. I am guilty on that count. While some of the boxes leave you wondering just why you thought you wanted scads of tiny cosmetics littering your bathroom vanity, other boxes bring you massive joy every month when you get that shipment notification.
Cosmetic – Beauty Subscription Boxes
Ipsy Glam Bags
My first deep dive into subscription boxes was the Ipsy Glambag. I had seen a few of the cute bags and was bored with the cosmetics I was using so I decided to subscribe. I really loved it and ended up subscribing for a year and gifting both my daughters a subscription.
You fill out a profile with your skin tone & type, your personal style, classic, funky etc, favorite colors and then specifics like nail polish, eye shadows and fragrances. To further customize your experience they invite you to review each item in your Glambag to help them curate the next box.
However, I specifically asked in the survey to not receive any hair care products. My daughter is a hairstylist and she gets things for cost and lots of samples so I just didn’t need any of that. I got hair care products almost every time! So that part was super frustrating. I asked for as many mascara and eyeliners as possible and I rarely got those.
So, after a year & a month of getting the cute bags in cute pink foil packages filled with tiny sample size products, I’d probably not want, use or need I canceled my subscription to try my second subscription box… the Birchbox.
Birchbox Subscription Box
After being less than thrilled with my first beauty box subscription, I kept seeing dozes of ads for Birchbox! (Thanks Facebook marketing!) Birchbox cosmetics box included larger sizes and was supposed to give me more control over what I received each month.
This did indeed happen, my products were slightly larger and I didn’t receive too many hair care products. I discovered my most favorite eyeliner ever. Butter|London. The butter LONDON WINK Eye Pencil, Union Jack Black. It really does go on like butter! Smooth and doesn’t irritate my eye, easy to sharpen and it seemed to be a full-size product.
Each month you are sent a couple of items to curate and decide which of the two you would want or your preferred color. I really appreciated those choices. Instead of a zippered cosmetic bag you receive nice study boxes in pretty colors and honestly, I still do use those boxes on my vanity to store my cosmetics. One box for things I use every day, one for hair accessories, one for nail care products etc. I also used them for craft supply storage that stacks up nicely.
The other thing that I preferred about Birchbox was the video that comes along with your Birthbox each month that goes through the selections and tells you about the products, how to apply, how much to use etc. Some of the Ipsy bag products were so small with even smaller print that sometimes I wasn’t actually sure what the product was for sure.
In 2018 you started hearing more about the environmental impact of sample-sized everything on the market and was concerned about the sustainability of all these tiny plastic packages.
If you love cosmetics and want to try out different things, this is the one I would direct you to. However, like the bags after a year, I had all the cute boxes I needed and now had 72 new cosmetics to play with so I stopped that subscription.
Here’s the problem, after getting my $10 treats in the mail each month I had gotten a bit addicted to fun surprises coming to my mailbox! What to do.. what to do?
PopSugar Subscription Box
I was attending a blogging conference and a PopSugar representative was there and gifted several of us with one of these quarterly subscription boxes which was a fabulous per since at that time they were $50 a pop! aka quarter. The items were nice quality, cute and were worth the $40 price tag if they were something you’d actually use. It seems to be geared towards the 20-30 something audience or just nothing I was that excited about.
Luckily I have daughters in that age range and was able to gift most of the things included to them. I like the nicer range of real products and if you are someone who does gift things to people quite a bit or if you are active on various buy/sell apps, the PopSugar box could definitely be worth it to you as you could sell the things you aren’t going to use for possibly most of the cost of the box. My daughters loved their surprises.
They now only offer a quarterly subscription at $75 instead of the monthly. You will find cosmetics as well as fashion accessories, snack foods, office supplies, beach/pool supplies and all sorts of cute things in the PopSugar boxes. Click here to get $20 off your first box. Click here to see past PopSugar Subscription Boxes to see the types of things offered. (Note: all subscription boxes should do this on their website to be more transparent about what you can expect from them!)
Fab Fit Fun
Ok, so I saved my favorite for last. Fab Fit Fun! This box is a quarterly subscription box that includes full-sized beauty products, fashion accessories, jewelry, exercise items, and more all in a cute, reusable gift box.
This is a seasonal box that costs $49.95 or an annual subscription of $179.99 for the year.
My first box has some of my very favorite cosmetics ever! I’ve never been able to use liquid eyeliner, I make a big mess and end up throwing it away every time but this Tarte Sex Kitten Eyeliner is unbelievably easy to use. The line is almost TOO fine and it’s never smeared and made a mess on my eye.
Coola Classic SPF 50 Sunscreen and Moisturizer – It is waterproof for 90 minutes and is organic. These two products cost $45 on Amazon so you can see what a bargain this box really is!
I also received the Tarte Pro To Go Amazonian Clay Palette coordinating eye shadow and blush. Priced between $20-30 on Amazon.
Here’s something I use all the time! A beautiful exclusive cosmetics travel bag – the Yumi Kim Makeup Train Case. It’s got two separate areas, with places for brushes and just lots of room for everything you need for travel. I just keep it packed in the closet ready to go. I kept this for myself and handed down my old one to my daughter.
So, you do get what you pay for and in these times of trying to be kinder to the planet, I’m going to opt for the Fab Fit Fun Box or the Pop Sugar Box over the smaller monthly subscriptions. I prefer to get the full-sized products over ridiculously small samples. The boxes that these last two come in are just so pretty and useful for so many things after you get your goodies. You’ll be using them for pretty storage on your shelves I guarantee it.
Let me know your thoughts and favorite subscription boxes so I can check them out.