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Monday, July 20, 2015

A Note on Beauty Subscription Boxes

A Note on Beauty Subscription Boxes

I've been blogging since 2011 - that's four, long but exciting years of beauty launches and news. Along the way I have seen new brands develop, soar in popularity, name changes and every now the demise of a box. Four years is long enough to recall the birth of not only Glossybox but other beauty subscription boxes, it is also a lengthy enough period to gain insight to how said boxes work and where they are lacking.

I am pro-beauty box subscriptions; they are an affordable and dare I say it an exciting way to experience new brands, test high end items and gain full size products. One of the first ever Glossybox's contained a full sized NARS highlighter (I'm like an elephant, I never forget) and along the way companies such as Birchbox (formerly Joliebox - flexing my memory once again) have featured full sized luxury products too.

Every now and then you will also stumble across a slightly more obscure brand inside a box which you can not find with ease on the UK high street. With the addition of beauty box online stores you can also shop the full sized version of the box's contents with ease too. Typically beauty subscription boxes come beautifully presented, are delivered directly to your home and cost less than £15. What's not to like?

The dud products that's what? Those throw away items that you could have snagged for free at a beauty counters. I don't want a teeny tiny 5ml tube of body lotion - that is not enough product to coat my legs, let alone my entire body. What use is it to anyone? You can't stash it away for travel, you can't gain any semblance of a feel for the product. Nothing. Don't even get me started on the perfume vials, can we just not?

Before I sound greedy, what I'm really touching on is the value of a product and by that I mean the value it brings to the person at home rather than the recommended retail price. Think about it, technically speaking you will be more satisfied with a £3 bottle of Garnier Micellar Water, than the aforementioned fragrance sample - which is probably similar in terms of retail expense. Another thing I don't care for is beauty box branded items i.e a Birchbox eyeshadow, and the main reason being is that they are never for sale individually and normally sub par in quality.

My last bug bear with beauty subscription boxes is that on the whole they are not tailor made despite a few attempting to profile their customers. I can get over the surprise element - in fact I rather enjoy it but the items miss the mark completely leave a sour taste. It would be nice to see more age specific choices, a teen has no need for anti-ageing products just as a mature woman would most likely rather forgo a blemish busting treatment (I am generalising but once I received a packet of menopause targeted supplements in a box - a complete fail).

Let's wrap this post up on a high shall we? I am really enjoying the more thought out themes and general path that the majority of beauty boxes have been following as of late. Overall they seemingly contain products higher in value in both senses so I have less to complain about. Is there room for improvement - yes but isn't there always? On the whole they are a great concept and one I hope will continue to flourish and evolve.

So where do you stand?
Do you still subscribe to a few or would you rather spend your money elsewhere?





Products and items that are featured on The Sunday Girl may have been sent for consideration of feature, or may be items that I have purchased myself. Regardless all opinions expressed on this site are of my own and honest. Any sponsored content will be clearly marked, you can read my full disclaimer here at any time.

33 comments:

  1. My view of this kind of boxes.

    Once upon a time, I had this vanity box--full of sample sachets and a few full-size products. It took me 2 years to use them all, and it puzzled me about how to wear an anti-aging product, useless oils which was potential to break my skin out, etc. In the end, I shared some products to my mom, my cousin, etc. Well, the positive side is, it is sharing-friendly. But it's not space-friendly. :)

    So, ehm, no, I'm not continuing subscription box. I was tired. It causes me stress, though it's fun to open and see what's inside--in the beginning.

    citraramya.blogspot.com

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  2. I have never subscribed to a beauty box yet as none are available to me that I see any monetary value in. I definitely have the same pet peeves as you when it comes to sample sizes. Boxy Charm and My Little Box are the only two that really intrigue me, and neither of them are available to me unfortunately!

    nueyork.blogspot.com

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  3. I had been subscribed to Glossy Box and although I agree, it was lovely to receive a box of beauty goodies on a monthly basis, I was finding I was never really using the products! I would stash them for another day, another time and ended up with lots of mini products. I also found, the contents could be really hit and miss and for £15 I could buy something I really wanted, or put that money aside for something else.

    www.britishbeautyaddict.com

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  4. I jumped on the GlossyBox bandwagon on their second box and kept my subscription for around 9 months. But each box was getting worse, tiny samples of products I don't like and not suited for me, or samples I can get myself. So I unsubscribed. I like the idea of beauty boxes but it's hard to get a "surprise" and still get something you want, all for a decent price. ;) I like however, that you can now get a sneak peek into the box and then buy it the same month - I did it last moth with Naturisimo (Travel Essentials Discovery Box) which had excellent value for money and I will use all of the products! :)

    Mademoiselle-Lala.com

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  5. I tried Birchbox last year and was thoroughly disappointed! Long live Latest In Beauty, I think they have beauty boxes nailed x

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  6. I have subbed to all of them over the last few years (not all at the same time, normally 3 months of each at a time). My favourite was She Said Beauty and I was gutted when they stopped. I think I've only ever had one really good Glossybox and maybe 3 really good Birchboxes. I'm subscribed to My Little Box at the moment and have no plans to end my sub at all. Every month is just brilliant, there are rarely any spoilers to be found and the lifestyle extras that come in the box are so cheerful and perfect that I just cant bring myself to stop my sub! Its the only sub I have where I can honestly say that on a daily basis, something from it gets used/worn!

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  7. I used to get one from Bircbox but after terrible service over Christmas I stopped. I did find it a bit tedious after a while as throughout my six months of using it, I didn't actually go out and purchase a full size product. It did however help me try out things that were on my list and make me not waste my money (that NUDE omegafor example). I think the thing for me is being black I don't find these boxes cater to my skin tone with some of the make-up. Now I don't expect them to get it right, but when they ask you information about your hair type and skin tone, you'd at least think they'd try and use that information when packing your box!

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  8. I've never subscribed to one because it seems so hit and miss. I just know I'd end up with a drawer full of samples I wouldn't use, even if there are a few really good ones that are relevant to me. I've always thought that I'd rather take that £10-15 to Boots or Superdrug and spend it on a couple of things I know I'll enjoy, Em x
    http://themusingsofem.blogspot.co.uk/

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  9. I've been know to subscribe to four boxes at once, I used to love them. Right now I'm only subscribed to My Little Box, because the rest of them started to disappoint me. I don't like receiving obscure brands that I've never heard of. I'd much rather had a Rimmel/Maybelline/Revlon product than some random brand that I can't actually find in the UK. I don't actually mind perfume samples though, I know you can get them for free, but I never go and get them!

    Stephanie xxx
    http://missstephanieusher.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/hope-freedom-love-3436251

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  10. I love the idea of beauty boxes and whenever I receive them I get excited but often after the initial joy I can be a little bit disheartened with them. As you say if you regularly buy them you often find the same products crop up and they're not cheap, even if value for money on 'cost to buy individually'. Then suddenly you're left with lot's of products but none of any value nor proper use.

    Victoria x
    FlorenceandMary.com

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  11. I loveee the concept of beauty boxes, but I cancelled my Glossybox sub as I wasn't impressed [they look to have got better again now though, typical!] and shortly afterwards, I had to cancel Birchbox; which I had enjoyed a lot this year, but am sadly now too poor to afford. I've also tried the YouBeauty box, which was a great budget box to try out at £6.95, but it didn't snag me enough to keep me subscribed either. I recently won a My Little Box which I LOVED, so if I was going to resubscribe to anything, I think I'd go there, for the experience. I've just found them all to be really hit and miss, which may have been the reasoning behind me sitting down and writing this pure essay of a comment hahaha sorry! Great post though xx

    www.lovelaughslipstick.com

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  12. I do overall like beauty boxes, but the cons you mentioned have been enough to put me off having any subscriptions at the moment. I always look forward to new ones coming on the market though :)

    Claire | Stylingo.co.uk | xx

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  13. i was subscribed to them all back in the day - glossybox, birchbox, shesaidbeauty and lux box and carmine (anyone remember carmine? it was by far my favourite). eventually the good ones discontinued and i was stuck with birchbox, which was sub par at the most. i got really excited when i heard of cohorted though, but this month's box brings down my expectation again. i think lovemebeauty, the youbeautybox and latest in beauty are the way to go, no strings attached and you know what's in them. remember when latest in beauty did a tiny beauty box that you paid by phone for for £1.50? loved that too x
    natasha // eyebrows, inc.

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  14. i was quite a box addict in 2010-2013 but these days have no subscriptions anymore... have my eyes on two boxes though but wont subscribe this year, maybe next year and only to one. they get addicting but often end in disappointment, too and i would not want to pay for disappointing things ^^

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  15. Yeah I'm not sure I would ever go for a beauty subscription box. If I want to try a product, I'll buy it!

    http://www.gemmacarey.com/

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  16. I'm currently subscribed to glossybox but it does frustrate me when I receive products that I could have easily bought for myself in my local boots!

    Philippa - ByPhilippa

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  17. I like the idea of beauty subscriptions and I would probably do it for a couple of months to try out new interesting products, however some of them are rather pricey and the products can be disappointing at times. Great post.

    Beth x
    www.hellobeth.co.uk

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  18. My last GlossyBox was around May and honestly, I'm dying to try other beauty boxes like Birch Box or Love me Beauty as well as My Little Box, can't decide which one I want!

    www.angerawrs.co.uk

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  19. I would rather spend the money on a product of my choice - by the time you pay for the box and the postage you're halfway to a high end mascara or in some cases, a foundation. Plus then I know I want what I've paid for...

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  20. I just cant enjoy them. I always end up with bits I just don't want, then I opt for spending my £10-£20 in boots on a 3for2.. or a MAC eyeshadow or lipstick, something I will actually LOVE. Plus I hate tiny samples. they annoy me so much! Deluxe samples are always a bonus, but I just dont like paying for something i'm not sure if I will even use or like...

    http://www.makeerinover.blogspot.com

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  21. I've never used a beauty subscription box and I think it's a fun idea but I get so much more pleasure from shopping and choosing what I want specifically that I think my money would be better spent somewhere else!

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

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  22. Ohh, speaking of something entirely different - how's the new COLAB Dry Shampoo scent??

    ELIN BERLIN // http://www.1nightinberlin.blogspot.com

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  23. I'm a few months in to my double subscription of Glossy and Birch. I couldn't decide between the two, but Birchbox are more timely, and last month's bag fit through my letterbox - win! Also slightly more excited by their products; Glossy leave me feeling a bit 'meh'.

    I put all the products in a gorgeous basket on my dresser, which encourages me to use the samples, and keep the cards. Anything I don't think will apply to me goes unopened into another box, to be regifted or shared with family and friends.

    Http://www.Size15Stylist.co.uk

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  24. I had 6 boxes at one point now just my little box. I love it.

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  25. I'm subbed to the You Beauty Discovery Box, which I love because you choose the products you want out of a selection. Plus it's only £6.95! I like the one off Latest in Beauty boxes too that you don't sub to xx

    Ramblings of a Beauty Bird | Beauty Blog

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  26. I think I'm a bit late to the beauty box party as I've only really just got into them (/got a bit obsessed and been googling for spoilers and writing my own reviews!) and currently subscribing to 4 (and eyeing up more!). I've discovered some really interesting brands and been using most things I've been sent or putting aside for friends if it's not my colour/skintype.

    Glossybox has been more of a letdown recently. My favourites are Love Me Beauty (I know a lot of people like the element of surprise, but I really like getting to always choose products I know I want/will use) and You Beauty Discovery (such great value at £6.95 inc postage). I've heard so much about My Little Box that I think that will be next!

    http://www.inmypost.co.uk/blog-1/reviewbeauty-box-glossybox-july-2015/12/7/2015

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  27. I swithered about beauty boxes for ages, and then I read on your blog that My Little Box was coming to the UK and I signed up straight away, I liked the idea of getting lifestyle items as well as beauty items and I love it! I did sign up for the Birch Bag this month only because there was an offer on Itison to get it for £10 plus you get the Tatler box free. It was the Tatler box I really wanted and I received them this morning and the Tatler box is brilliant and a total bargain, however I wasn't that impressed with the Birch Bag, and will be cancelling straight away. And this is the problem with these types of boxes, the two products I really wanted I didn't get and so was very disappointed. I got the Benefit Dream Screen which has to be the smallest sample in the world and think it will be a miracle if it is enough for one application to my face! These days you get bigger sample sizes free in magazines. I think Latest in Beauty has the right idea, you get to see what's in each box before you buy and there is no subscription, so you just buy the boxes you want. So it's My Little Box and Latest in Beauty all the way for me.

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  28. at first they seemed interesting but i couldn't get over the fact of receiving random things that i might not like hence i have NEVER bought a subscription box

    xo

    Inspirations Have I None

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  29. I think we're a long way away from Glossyboxes containing full size NARS products! I haven't personally subscribed to a box for a while now (mainly for money reasons) but I do purchase individual boxes if I like the look of the contents and I have received Birchboxes as samples this year. I know you do have to manage your expectations of what you'll find in a £10 box but sometimes there really are some duff items in some of them! x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

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  30. Don't forget that Joliebox used to be Boudoir Prive in 2011 too! ;)

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  31. The only box I've ever really bothered with is the You Beauty Discovery one as it's excellent value. Otherwise I find being sent random shades really annoying. I sometimes order one-off special boxes though xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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  32. I really miss the fact of subscription box! there is none in my country! I think it's fun to get the box of goodies every month! Also can feel your point to have the risk of disappointment!

    do drop by... GreenStory

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