We gave six of the best-known beauty subscription boxes on the market a trial one to sort the precious post from the junk mail…
A beauty subscription box could be a way to add a little more excitement to your letterbox. Designed to help consumers sample the best of new products, beauty subscriptions are well on the rise, with new ones popping up on the market each month to mix up your make-up bag.
With a surprise element in play, you can never be quite sure what a beauty box might contain, making it difficult to gauge value for money. Tackling six of the bigger names on the market, we stuck our postwoman hat on and got sorting the junk mail from the precious post…
One of the longer-established beauty brands, Roccabox are known for collaborating with various beauty influencers, promising the most interesting of new beauty releases.
Contents: Our sample box is a collaboration with Carly Musleh, and includes a shampoo and conditioner, all-purpose soothing balm, facemask, eyeliner and a lip lacquer.
Price and frequency: £10 per month, based on a rolling contract.
Value of products: The lowest priced box of the bunch, you can’t go far wrong with familiar names such as Pixi and PawPaw. It is worth bearing in mind that Roccabox is very much a sampling service—full-size products are rare and reflected in the pricing.
Packaging: Sleek and stylish, Roccaboxes are sturdy and well designed.
Verdict: With items perhaps aimed at a slightly younger audience, Roccabox would make a great gift for a beauty-obsessive or a frequent traveller who enjoys sample sizes. At just £10, it’s a great way to try out trends.
One of the original and best-known names in the subscription box market.
Contents: Our April sample includes a highlighter, primer sample, body soufflé, eye mask, hair treatment and a £15 discount voucher for Monica Vinader.
Price and frequency: £10 plus £2.95 postage, based on monthly rolling contract.
Value of products: A slightly more sophisticated concept, Birchbox’s content isn’t guaranteed—each box differs slightly based on sample availability, adding an air of members-club excitement in their online community when a box arrives. Customisation is available, but only after you have completed check-out. Much like Roccabox, this is a sampling endeavour, but the abundance of familiar names should reassure.
Packaging: Well designed and photogenic, it’s tempting to sign up to Birchbox simply to collect the boxes themselves. Slightly smaller than A5, the box is perfectly designed to house its products, minimising packaging and waste. The box even comes with a built in mirror, making for handy storage.
Verdict: Perfect for the modern beauty collector, Birchbox is one of the originals for a reason. The ability to try out a box and then restock your favourites from their online store marks it out as one for ardent beauty fans, recommendable in it’s user-friendliness.
Natural Wellness Box
Natural Wellness have a dedication to wellness inside and out, with each box themed to a particular area of health and wellbeing.
Contents: The March sleep collection includes organic valerian root supplements, turmeric latte powder, sleepy tea, a superfood bar, facial oil, body oil and a foot soak.
Price and frequency: £35 every other month, based on a rolling contract.
Value of products: You’ll know from the heaviness of this box before you even open it that it’s full of high-value products. Mostly full-sized, familiar brands are in abundance, and catering to various types of inner and outer beauty, the value for money feels plentiful. An average box is worth around £75.
Packaging: Nondescript but highly reusuable, tissue paper secures the glass bottles snugly and is undyed and unfussy.
Verdict: Our favourite of the bunch, the Natural Wellness box feels indulgent while remaining a fair price—a treat we would definitely look forward to in our post-box. Step up the branding, and they could easily maintain market leadership.
Little-Known Box champion the independent and up-and-comers of the beauty industry, with a focus on ethical brands.
Contents: Our sample March box included a full-size conditioning spray, argan oil, eyeshadow stick, spot treatment gel and a lip balm.
Price and frequency: £14.95 (plus £3.95 shipping) on a rolling monthly-plan, dispatched on the 21st of each month.
Value of products: When signing up, Little-Known offer a great degree of personalisation, inquiring to hair type, skincare needs and even colour preference to ensure satisfaction. The products feel good quality, and the liquid eyeshadow is something of a revelation in it’s universally-wearable gold, glittery hue.
Packaging: All in black, the little-known box feels sophisticated and grown-up, if slightly over-packed with paper.
Verdict: Easily the best for customisation, an ongoing subscription here feels like it could be very fruitful, with few products going to waste. One for beauty fans looking to switch up their make-up bag, there’s plenty to enjoy.
The Pip Box
A monthly beauty box dedicated to elevating cruelty-free, vegan brands.
Contents: Our sample April box contains a shampoo bar, lipstick, slanted tweezers, hydrating facial mist and a blush compact.
Price and frequency: £20 based on a rolling one-month contract, dispatched on the 20th of each month.
Value of products: A selection of brands you may have heard of along with some you may have not, the Pip Box feels practical, and both the blush and lipstick have clearly been selected with some idea of skin tone diversity in mind. The average box is quoted as being worth up to £70.
Packaging: The smallest of the bunch, Pip adheres to its cruelty free pledge with minimal padding, easy to pack down and recycle. 50p of each box is also donated to Animal Free Research UK, which is committed to challenging animal testing.
Verdict: If you’re looking to make the switch to full veganism, this box is a good way to open your eyes to just how many brands there are out there that are worth the swap. From this sample, we’d definitely consider repurchasing the face mist, taking advantage of the 20% discount code that is also included in the box.
The Pink Parcel
Part pamper, part period essentials. Choose from your preferred brand of pads and tampons and receive a selection of surprise pick-me-up treats to go with.
Contents: Our sample box included a liquid lipstick, chocolate bar, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, a body scrubber, teabag and a face mask.
Price and frequency: £12.99 based on a 1-month rolling subscription, delivered on your chosen day each month.
Value of products: With a generous amount of your chosen sanitary product packed in and catering to different flow levels within the month, this box instantly feels like a saving based on comparative pricing for buying individual types of towel or tampon. It is estimated that the box contents are worth around £40.
Packaging: Prettily organised into needs, wants and a handy on-the-go bag, the packaging feels discreet but feminine, slim enough to fit through plenty of post-boxes. The products aren’t excessively packaged, and the reusable bag feels helpful, if potentially a little excessive if you were to receive a box every single month. The cleansing wipes are also a dubious inclusion, and could perhaps be replaced with something reusable, such as a micellar water or balm cleanser.
Verdict: A great gift for a forgetful family member or a self-care reminder, this box would definitely soothe some of lighter ailments of that time of the month. Hand sanitiser, chocolate and a mood-enhancing lipstick are just some of the goodies included, well thought out and in sizes that don’t feel stingy. If your cycle is regular, this could definitely be a reliable way to counter the PMS blues.