Beauty subscription boxes seem like fun. You pay a monthly fee to receive a box full of things that usually cost way more individually than they would have collectively in the box. You can try out new brands and types of products, and if you get a product you already like, then you can bring it with you in your purse or when you travel.
But should you get a beauty subscription box? I don’t mean, “should you get the Sephora Play! Box, Birchbox, or Ipsy?” I mean, should you get one at all? Well, consider the following:
- Are you trying to build your makeup collection?
Subscription boxes with full-size products (e.g. Boxycharm, Ipsy Glam Bag Plus) are great for people who are just starting out with makeup and want to grow their collection at a discounted price. Boxycharm is great for anyone who is low on brushes or eyeshadow palettes, but maybe not so great for someone who is looking to try new skincare products (for that, I’d suggest that you check out BoxyLuxe).
- Do you want to change up your makeup/skincare collection?
Perhaps you like the idea of having some kind of curator choose your next lip product, face moisturizer, or primer. I was going through a liquid lipstick phase at one point a couple of summers ago and was excited to try out a BareMinerals liquid lip and a Kat Von D liquid lip within a couple months of each other through a Sephora Play! Box.
- Are you intrigued by the store?
There are a number of stores/companies that have their own box (e.g. Macy*s, Target, Sephora, etc.). If you enjoy the brands that are carried at these stores and would like smaller-sized versions of certain products to bring with you when you travel or to try out, then there’s no harm in getting these boxes. I’m subscribed to the Sisley-Paris box right now, which lets me test out a bunch of Sisley products for $10 a month, and I am quite happy with it. I like trying out bougie products to see which products are worth the hype (and would be happy to do a dedicated Sisley post or two if there’s any interest!).
- If you receive products you’re not happy with/don’t need more of, do you have friends who might be interested?
At one point, I had subscriptions to Sephora Play!, Boxycharm, and Birchbox. Things started piling up real fast. I don’t care for red lipsticks (with the exception of Mac’s Ruby Woo, on account of it being universally flattering), so anytime I received one, I gave it away. I also gave away dry shampoo, mascara (the mascara pile-up was overwhelming), and eyeliner (the black eyeliner pile-up was equally overwhelming). But my friends liked trying some of the products, so at least there was that!
- How many products in previous boxes interest you?
Most subscription box websites will show you which products have come in previous boxes, so you can get an idea of what to expect in your first box. A general rule I follow is that if you consistently find at least half of the contents in previous boxes appealing, then a subscription might be a good idea.
- Do you have a makeup/skincare routine that you’re happy with?
If you like how you do your face everyday, then you don’t need a subscription box. I mean, you could choose a box to try out new products, but I remember reaching a point with my Sephora Play! Box where I became no longer interested in the products I was receiving. I despise Drunk Elephant products (on account of all of them breaking me out), and I kept receiving trial-sized versions of their face creams. I am also underwhelmed with Belif products, and Sephora always finds a way to put those into boxes. I made a switch to luxury makeup brushes (one brush is going to receive a dedicated post, so stay tuned for that!), so the brushes I received in my Boxycharm were no longer worth it. I also ended up trying so many eye shadow palettes that I now know which ones are my holy grails, so I don’t actually need any additional palettes. Also, Boxycharm has added a brand that I would never purchase (<cough> Morphe <cough>). Why spend money on items I’m not interested in, even at a discount?
Personally, I am not interested in most subscription boxes. But the same could not be said two years ago. I’m happy that, when I didn’t know what I was interested in, I had monthly options arriving in the mail. I just reached a point where I figured out which products I liked, and became pickier about which items I wanted to try out. I could hope that a new release might appear in a subscription box, but it would be more realistic to purchase it myself and return it if it was a fail (thank you, Sephora return policy!).
Side note: But what about FabFitFun?! Oddly enough, I love watching FabFitFun unboxings, but in every box, I end up liking maybe fewer than half of the products mentioned, which isn’t worth the $200 per year price tag. Think of all the chocolate I could purchase instead!
TLDR: If you want to expand your makeup collection, try new products, or get ahold of trial-size products for travel, then get a subscription box. If you’re happy with your routines the way they are, don’t bother.
Best resource for subscription boxes: My Subscription Addiction.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope some of this was helpful if you’re considering subscribing to a beauty box. If you’d like to receive All the Best Things in your inbox regularly, feel free to subscribe!