You’ve seen them everywhere, ‘The Beauty Box’…From Sephora Play and Boxycharm to Ipsy and Birchbox there are dozens of options out there to pay a monthly free for an opportunity to try new products… but which ones should you invest in?
THE BEAUTY BOX BATTLE
Make-up.. make-up.. make-up. I love trying out everything I can get my goofy little fingers on so learning there was a monthly box full of new pretty things was an undeniable attraction!! I went on a journey to find the best of the best in selection at great value for each dollar spent and what I discovered was a dozen very attractive choices at reasonable price points with all levels of goodies packed inside. Here is what I’ve experienced, my preferences and why I chose what I eventually chose;
I don’t think I could live without hair, makeup and styling… I am a glamour girl through and through.
With almost 40 ore more boxes on the market, a girl has to really research what is most important to her to decide what box is the best. The answer to what I wanted was barely simple or easy, so instead of going by the recommendations of a dozen bloggers that I noticed didn’t actually test these selections out? I went all in and joined the subscription service of five box programs of various values at a total of approximately $75 a month. I was crazy excited to start receiving a wide array of hair and skin care items I might otherwise not feel compelled to experience otherwise, and I only hoped that the quantity and quality of what I received would rival the price I paid.
I researched the reviews of Ipsy, Boxycharm, Birchbox, Vegan Cuts, Yuzen Box, Target Beauty, Sephora Play, Allure, BeautyCon Box, Honest Box and more. One thing I looked for was a good ration of make-up and skin/hair care… it seemed many boxes loaded you up with shampoos and face creams, and maybe* tossed in a neutral colored lippy which ruled out several options right away. This is where I questioned if other bloggers had actually tried the boxes they reported on or, just copy/pasted information from their parent websites, because though ‘Five full size products’ are great? It’s not so great when all five products are shampoo. The other thing I paid close attention to was product sizes compared to box cost. I wanted to be careful I wasn’t paying $30 for three mini-me samples of things I would generally get free in my Sephora V.I.B goodie bag per visit. So what did I learn?
In value, there were several boxes between $10 and $15 that included 5 to 7 items on a monthly basis. These were IPSY, BirchBox, Sephora Play, Target, and Allure. At the time both Sephora and IPSY had waiting lists which removed them from my radar, Target barely introduced me to new make-up products which left me with Allure and Birchbox. And purely based on $10 vs $15 I settled on Birchbox as my low cost box.
In quality, there were a few boxes ranging $20 to $40 that seemed very appealing for different reasons. I looked at Boxycharm, Yuzen Box, BeautyCon, VeganCuts, and Beauty and Bling. Boxycharm felt like a slam dunk at $21 for five full to luxury sized products that seemed to have a great mix of make-up and skin related items. I also loved that it seems as though they sent brushes and blenders which immediately sparked my interest.
I topped my box budget at $100 and I wanted to try a few boxes that were drastically different, so though I had interest in the BeautyCon box I opted for Yuzen and Vegan Cuts Beauty both packed full of organic and vegan products that were guaranteed not to be carbon copies of Boxycharm or each other. Vegan came in at $23 pre month and Yuzen was a quarterly box at $35 per box (or $12 per month for four boxes a year). So for four incredible boxes of face love, I was in for $66 a month.
I gave each box 5 months worth of product to impress me.
My thought process here was to have a decent selection of what these companies provided so I could compare what came from each of them in one sitting and trust me it was torture to not open the boxes!!
On the sixth month it was like a Glamzon Christmas extravaganza!!! I had so many new things to try, I’ve honestly not gotten to them all 4 months later but I have made some changes in my subscription choices.
First, in my opinion BoxyCharm turned out to be the best of the selection. Each box allowed me to try a new item from very reputable companies I might not otherwise tried like Real Her, Naked, Artist Couture, Ofra and more that I’ve sense fallen in love with. It felt like BoxyCharm went to great lengths to pick items that had a relationship. Be it shadow pots, shadow brushes, an eye shadow organizer and a lippy to concealer with beauty blenders or a fan brush and a highlighter it never appeared as though they just shoveled whatever was in the sample bin into a box. So I was delighted to receive my BoxyCharm every month because I knew it would be items I would use and could use together.
The second favorite was Yuzen. Though they were often light on the make-up they are amazing with unique organic items packaged so beautifully it was a pleasure just to open the box. From Chocolate to body mist, face scrubs and nail polish? Yuzen really new how to reward a girl with a spa experience in a box. Each box I’ve received had 7-8 items and it always smelled fantastic. So of the four boxes it was an instant keeper!
But then there were the not so great choices. First up.. Vegan cuts. I’m not going to say I ‘didn’t like’ vegan cuts so much as it failed to maintain my interest. Many of the products I received were from kitchen brew companies with crooked hand placed labels. Now I’m not against small businesses at all!! But considering these are products I’m using on my skin I am a little concerned by things that may not have to endure safety testing or adhere to rigid hygiene standards that are maintained by laboratories. Am I over reacting? Probably… but it was enough for me personally to question if I wanted to continue to sub that box. The second problem was the products. Most of the time the box was full of things like toothpaste or deodorant rocks, the emphasis was more often on bath supplies then skin care or make-up. So with those few complaints combined with it being the most expensive monthly fee? I dropped them at the 5 month mark.
The other let down was Birchbox. Again, it’s not that I ‘didn’t like’ it, it just lost my interest. For $10 a month I was riddled with sample size everything with an occasional two-three color eye shadow palette or lippy but mostly the type of mini samples you might get from your dermatologist to entice you to buy whatever $100 per bottle skincare line he or she licenses shelf space to. That’s NOT to say I didn’t discover a few great brands!! But it had me curious how many of these tiny bottle that same company gives away for free at events and if the selection I was getting was something I wanted to even pay $10 for. Frankly the answer was no.
Unlike Boxycharm, I wasn’t convince that any thought really went into the Birchbox selection… as though they had a bin of little bottles of things in a warehouse and just dumped a few in each box. I know that’s NOT the case but the box design each month was the only thing I really looked forward to. And let me say.. the boxes were always beautiful!! Maybe it was that I had more interest in make-up then skin creams and shampoo… but as of June 1st I left the Birchbox family.
So as of today, I’ve maintained my sub to BoxyCharm and Yuzen; and on the 10th of this month finally joined Sephora Play!! Honestly? One box in and I’m in love. Sephora Play is extra special, it takes your personality into account and sends you product based on what you like!! So instead of a hand full of random samples you may not vibe with, Play send you product unique to you!! From Kat Von D to Hello Fab, Play was all about brands I already know and LOVE. I can’t wait to see July and beyond… and at the moment I’m eyeballing the Allure Box as well which seems to have access to even more incredible new and mainstream brands I’ve yet to try.
All in all… I LOVE these boxes, even the ones I unsubbed. There is no better more cost effective way to try dozens of brands before you buy to really hone in on what excited you in skincare and makeup!! And remember, this is just my experience!! I encourage you to try what interests you and regardless of what I’ve written!! You may find that any of these boxes fit your wallet and interests differently then mine!