As part of the Beauty Box Subscription Dilemma series, I unboxed some of the most popular beauty subscription box services out there! When I launched the project, I listed the boxes I would be reviewing. Unfortunately, I did not get to all of them! I did unbox some boxes that were not on my original list and didn’t unbox some that were on my original list. Of course, other boxes that didn’t make my initial list were ones I learned about AFTER I started my project and before I had enough time to unbox wih you.
None of these links are affiliate links, so do not worry friends! However, if you do end up trying a box (or two) please use links from my site so at least I get some referral cred from traffic. If you purchase anything and they ask how/where you found out about them… help a sister out and fill in yours truly at Setareh Beauty. (Thanks, lovelies.)
I’m sure you know, it takes a lot of work (time + money) to put these types of things together, and the little itty bitty recognition I get when you use one of my links helps. I would appreciate it even more if you share this post with those you love or should know about this project.
I have categorized the boxes into Budget, Moderate, Pricier. I’ve ranked them in their category and also collectively at the end! I hope this helps you in your or your gift giving decision making!
This was by far the surprise of the group! I received 3 full sized items from up-and-coming brands, and they were great quality too! I am not a fan of perfume samples, but the Harvey England rollerball was the perfect way to try a new scent (and a great one at that). Although the loose powder eyeshadow was not really practical for everyday use, it was a full size and was a color that could be used. The SoKo lip/cheek stain is fabulous (deluxe sample) and if I were an ipsy or Birchbox subscriber, I’d switch immediately! Unless of course you love the cute bags ipsy sends each month or the fancy boxes containing Birchbox goods. Check out my BB5 unboxing here.
Runner Up: Birchbox ($10/mo)
Ok, it was a tough call between Birchbox and ipsy. The only reason why Birchbox ranks second is because I feel the quality far eclipsed ipsy products. That is not to say the ipsy products weren’t great… However, several of my friends were eyeing some of the ipsy products I received, so I gifted them 🙂 The Birchbox products were a bit more practical for me, nude lip color & liner and a great mask, to name a few.
Third Place: ipsy ($10/mo)
Ok, so aside from the oh-so-cute packaging in the recognizable pink envelope and signature makeup bag…ipsy came in third. This isn’t necessarily because it’s worse than Birchbox. They are just a little different…Birchbox is more my style. However, with ipsy, I received three noteworthy items: the Hikari Lip Gloss (full size), a Marc Anthony Argan Hair Oil (deluxe sample), and a felt dark eyeliner. There were several items that I felt were a bit drugstore-y. While I like and appreciate the variety of ipsy, Birchbox felt a little more higher end. Three items of ten is still pretty amazing, so way to go ipsy!
The Winner: Boxycharm ($21)
Ok, so I pretty much use everything I received in my Boxycharm – and that’s saying a lot, especially considering how many products I already have and have received throughout this entire series. I love the Tarte eyeshadow pencil, love the Vasanti foundation brush (use it for my concealer, yea, it’s a little big BUT it does the job) and use the Previse moisturizer daily. Keep in mind I ran out of moisturizer days before I received it, so timing was everything!
I don’t love the Previse, as it isn’t hydrating enough for me but it does the job and I’m glad I get to use it in its entirety. It would probably better suit someone with more oily skin.
Tie for Second Place: Goodebox (now called Goodbeing) ($19)
Ok, this is the only 100% all-natural, 100% organic box in the bunch. It should really be in it’s own category because it’s hard to compare Goodebox with Boxycharm and Glossybox. I love, love, love the Acure Face Brightening Scrub! I feel like that’s what pushed Glossybox to third place. This scrub made its way into my skin regime and is there to stay.
As much as I wanted to love the mascara, it was okay. I think 100% Pure could make a better brush and that would improve the application process immensely. However, Goodebox opened me up to 100% Pure Cosmetics and I’m SO glad for that. I’ve had so many clients interested in “clean and green” cosmetics. I’m proud to refer them to this line of fruit-pigmented cosmetics. I saw they have a retail store in Santana Row in San Jose, so that’s awesome. I hope to be doing a product review on this line and their competitors, so stay tuned and let me know!
Tie for Second Place: Glossybox ($21)
If I had to rate packaging, Glossybox would be top the entire list! Their truly amazing box makes you feel like what you are about to open will be worth the big bucks. However, I wasn’t awed by my five luxury deluxe samples but I wasn’t disappointed. either Estee Lauder is a great brand but I wouldn’t consider it “luxury.” The Marsk loose powder is AMAZING! It is such a versatie product, I’ve already used it on one of my clients (and that’s really soon).
I would purchase a Glossybox subscription in a heartbeat. You can tell a lot of love goes into their boxes. Check out my Glossybox unboxing here.
I have a feeling that most of my clients my age or older are looking for this box! At $25/box…this is truly such a great price for what you get. The mybody nighttime moisturizer is fantastic, although I’m not sure I would purchase it at retail price. I’m SO glad I got to try the brand, though. I love the pump! Both the oils are amazing. I have one at my bedside and the other in my medicine cabinet. Oils have such historic roots in beauty regimes and I’m glad they are becoming more available and recognized as amazing beauty products, thanks to BeautyDNA who obviously knows what they are doing.
Runner Up: Julep Maven ($24.99)
Julep wasn’t one of the original beauty box subscription services I identified in my original “Beauty Box Dilemma” post however, clever Facebook ads targeted me with a “Free Julep Box.” For $3, I received my first Julep box. I forgot to unsubscribe and got hit with a $25 charge for the second box (OUCH!). I did change my profile to indicate I didn’t want any more nail polishes but they must not have received the change in time (even though I checked my dates and they should’ve been processed). Nonetheless, Julep’s packaging is by far the most luxurious… the attention to detail packaging is incredible. They feel extremely high end and well, if Nordstrom carries their products in their stores, they must be on the higher-end side.
Between the two boxes, I received four nail polishes, one lip-gloss (the smell is AMAZING), one lipstick, and an eye shadow 101 stick. For the sake of this series, I did actually test out their nail polish and oh man, I was/am impressed! It is the quickest drying/long-lasting nail polish color I’ve ever used and the color(s) is/are phenomenal on the nails. They actually look like the color in the bottle. Rarely am I impressed by nail polishes…but I’ve been wearing Julep’s nail polish WITHOUT a clear coat (check out the last videos/unboxings) and it’s still on and looks great. Yes, there’s some chipping but for it being almost a week old, that’s pretty darn good. Remember, I chase around a 3.5 year old and we live in an old home with no dishwasher, if that helps.
Although I’ve used the lip gloss occasionally, the product I most love is the eyeshadow 101 stick. I I had to be really nit picky, the color stick constantly slides back down into the tube… it’s just a matter of unscrewing it back up and it’s fine… but like I said, that’s super nit picky. It’s an amazing color and formulation.
Third Place: TestTube ($29.95)
So this service averages out to $15/month since you receive tubes 6x a year or every other month. However, each tube runs $30 so that’s why it is in the pricier category. I felt like this was a bit pricey for what I received and that the products I received, average. Sigh. I received a bunch of, what I felt like, were drugstore samples/sale rack at Ulta items. Although I appreciate the full-sized bottle of BioSilk, I also have heard of BioSilk, used it back in the day, and honestly feel like so many amazing hair oils have come out since then… The packaging appears the same and there’s nothing indicating there’s been a significant change to their formulation.
There was supposed to be a nail polish in the tube but there wasn’t. I believe they threw in some of the extra biotin chews to make up for that. That actually is better for me BUT if you are a nail polish fiend, then you would’ve been disappointed. The quality of makeup was meh. Basically, I feel like Testtube Beauty crammed a bunch of deluxe drugstore sample freebies into a tube. I could be wrong… but that’s just how I feel.
First Place: Boxycharm
Ok, at $21/month, it can get costly. It’s worth it. For me, every month might turn excessive (especially considering how much makeup I already have) BUT this is a great, every once in awhile box for me.
Second Place: BeautyDNA
Yes, yes, yes. Just do it and thank me later. This is perfect for you luxury women, who don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity. As far as a BeautyDNA monthly subscription…I think one box/month would be excessive… unless you are trying to build a fabulous collection. As you saw, I received two large oils in two consecutive months. If you are worried about that, you should probably update your profile (which I did not do—shame on me) or making this a quarterly or twice a year box. For me, time is money. It’s hard for me to try on a blouse in a store or even a perfume as I’m often time toting around my rambunctious little guy….so this is the perfect solution. Trust me, you need at least ONE BeautyDNA box/year…at a minimum.
Third Place: Beauty Box 5
If you are an ipsy or Birchbox subscriber, I’d recommend trying out BB5. The only reason BB5 is coming in 3rd is because I am a professional makeup artist and have a huge kit and getting more makeup products is not necessarily what I need. BB5 will be a box I will subscribe to in the future every now and then J It is def a box I will recommend to my clients who I feel like the items are higher end and that you get way more bang for your buck. I will totally sacrifice $12 from my coffee budget and snag a BB5 in a heartbeat. Great job!
Boxes I Did NOT try I wanted to from my original post:
Why didn’t I do beauty army? After I created an account and filled out my “style” profile. Then, I was taken to a screen that matched me with “products” (samples) that I would select to make up my box. Majority of these samples were ones you could find at the drugstore and well, I didn’t really want to waste my money. I did reach out to them several times in seeing if they would help support this project and while I am not supporting the ones who provided me gratis boxes, I would’ve appreciated at least an email back to say, “Thanks, but we are unable to process your request at this time.” I would’ve understood…no hard feelings. Recommend SoChoix (see below) as an alternative to BeautyArmy.
Ok, time mostly escaped me on this one. In order to get a free box to review, you have to have thousands of followers and subscribers and well, a media kit and everything. Since I had to pay out of pocket for several of the aforementioned boxes and there are deadlines to receive such boxes, I just didn’t have the time to put one together. If you REALLY want me to review this box, give me some feedback below and I will. I’m curious to know!
Honestly, the site is kind of confusing. When I discovered Mishibox, I thought maybe I could do a comparison of SoKo beauty boxes…so that’s something on horizon, pending your interest, in CY 2016. Like BeautyArmy, I never heard back from their customer service department. I didn’t even necessarily need the free box, I had more questions on how to use the site. Looks like they have some awesome products so if you are into them, check them out and let me know.
Boxes Worth Checking Out:
I discovered Mishibox after Memebox, and like I mentioned earlier, I’d be more than happy to do a separate series on Korean Beauty boxes! I was super impressed with Mishibox’s customer service – they were extremely timely, professional, and personal in their communication with me. They even provided me a discount code for highly sought after and coveted SoKo beauty products.
The LaRitzy box is one I consider to be a competitor to Goodebox or Petit Vour. LaRitzy wants to show women that cruelty-free beauty products are the way to go! Their packaging is super cute and I love their Instagram feed. If you are a cruelty-free consumer (or any consumer who wants to buy their makeup more consciously), you need to jump on LaRitzy box right meow.
Now THIS is a cool service. For $10/month (no subscription required) you get to test out the luxury beauty products you want. Think Chanel, Giorgio Armani, YSL, Tom Ford, etc. You pick the five and they send you enough to get at true sample at home. No department store makeup counters and the ridiculous sales pressure that comes with them. Let’s be honest, that takes a lot of time (and money). This is a box I will check out when I run out of some of my faves 🙂
Glowing Beets offers their subscribers 3-4 deluxe or full-sized, high quality, natural beauty products per month delivered to you for healthy living. Another competitor to Goodebox (or what is now called the Goodbeing box), Glowingbeets is a bit pricier but after browsing their website, it looks like they may carry more higher end products than some of the other boxes.
Hope this helps you in your own decision or your decision to gift a loved one! I truly believe all of these companies really want to please their subscribers…what works for one person, may not work for the other… and THAT’S OK!
Please leave me some feedback and I look forward to my next series TBA!! Make sure to subscribe to be in the know. Trust me, I hardly send out emails…when I do, you DEF want to read them.
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!
Makeup education a great passion of mine. I have personally witnessed how makeup education has positively changed lives time and time again.
Throughout the years, I kept noticing the lack of real-life, practical, and easy to understand makeup education.
After developing PDF guides for my private lesson clients, then workbooks for my makeup workshops, enough people told me I should write a book. So in 2019, personally funded and self-published my first book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist.