I was so attracted to the concept of beauty boxes: a monthly treat, finding new brands, new products to play with. I started with Birchbox last year (February if you’re curious), and added Glossybox in May of last year. They always arrived in the middle of the month and it was so great to have them to look forward to….. until it wasn’t (dramatic gasp!). I cancelled both subscriptions in June. Please know that I am not trying to convince anyone to cancel their own subscription/s, or talk them out of joining. Hell, my reasons for cancelling might be your reasons for subscribing. I’ve (rather poorly) taken pictures of most of what I have left so you can see exactly what comes in these boxes.
Here’s why I didn’t want them anymore:
Too many products I don’t use
I’ve gotten so many dry shampoos, black eyeliners, hair straightening products, tanning creams, sheet masks, etc that I would never buy because I don’t use them. Of course, some people will read this and get excited about beauty boxes which is fine. They are popular for a reason! But a bit of variation would have been nice. I got a dark purple eyeliner once ever which I loved, but 99% of the time if I got an eyeliner, it was black. You do fill out profiles for both Birchbox and Glossybox on your skin type, hair type, etc but I never felt mine were really catered to.
Glossybox love sending out Catrice items. I also got products from Batiste and, as above, I don’t even use dry shampoo. I’ve gotten disposable razors twice. Glossybox sent me a Sleek cheek palette which is nice, but something I can find no problem. They also sent me out a Penneys lipliner on one occasion, and a lipstick from them on another. One of the draws to beauty boxes for me was discovering new brands which in fairness, I absolutely have, but I was still disappointed any time I opened a box and found a Catrice lipstick I can buy in 4 places within a 10-mile radius of my house.
Excessive amount of items and boxes
Until a few weeks ago, I had 2 towers of boxes behind my bedroom door. It seemed too wasteful to dispose of them. Birchbox does send out some boxes that are in drawer form, which I use to store makeup in and love, but I was still left with a ton of boxes I had no use for. Another issue is the sheer amount of products I still have. I’ve given many away, used them up, or plain just thrown some out (I’ve gotten several overly dry lipsticks I disposed of almost immediately), but I’m still left with a lot of clutter. You can tell from the pictures that most of these items are sample sized. I’ve added a few to my project pan as I’m sick of them taking up space.
I’ve given a lot of products to my sister who has confirmed for me today that she has either not used some of it, or just thrown it out herself. My mother has several items she still has in a drawer because she just doesn’t find herself reaching for them. So it feels now that I wasn’t actually helping anyone by giving them some items, I was just spreading the clutter.
Products that are too small
Most products you’ll get will be sample sized. This is amazing for things like mascara and oils that you can get many, many uses out of. I got a sample size of Benefit They’re Real! mascara and primer in 2 separate boxes that lasted me ages. There are loads of high quality brands you’ll get to try, like Caudalie and Nuxe. You know when you’re signing up for these boxes that this is what you’re signing up for, so fair enough.
However, some items are literally just too small to really try out. I’ve gotten a Cynthia Rowley face primer that didn’t have enough in it to cover my whole face, an eyeshadow that was so teeny a brush couldn’t effectively pick up product, and a glorious shower gel that had maybe 2 uses if you were extremely frugal with it. It’s just not practical to include an item that has so little in it, not to mention plain rude considering they’re counted as one out of five products you’ll get that month.
Obviously this was going to be a factor. Birchbox is £10 a month plus £2.95 for shipping, which works out at €14.20 a month. Glossybox is £10 a month plus £3.25 a month for shipping, working out at €14.50 a month. €30 a month on products I mostly didn’t want, gave away or throw out is a lot. It didn’t seem like I was actually getting value for money. Keep in mind, I was on the month-by-month plan on both that I could stop any time, as I didn’t like the idea of being tied down to 6 or 12 month plans, so there are cheaper options available if you’re willing to commit. There are also ways of getting a box for free, which is providing reviews on the products you receive. I received a free box once a year that way.
The more interested I became in makeup, the more I was looking for it online. I found that there were other products I would rather spend my money on. Quality over quantity became my priority. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy more than I should, but it’s on items I want. I’m not buying foot creams and gimmicky hair products gathering dust on the windowsill. I’m happy with my skincare routine and don’t need any more sample sized moisturisers to get through.
Overall, here’s advice I would give if you’re interested in subscribing to a beauty box:
- Check out this site to see a breakdown of what various beauty boxes offer every month. Pay attention to the brands, because you will see them a lot across the beauty spectrum.
- You can subscribe on a month-to-month basis, meaning you can cancel them at any time. Thus, if you don’t like the first box you receive, you can cancel right away. This was the plan I was on and when I cancelled with Birchbox, I received no more boxes. Glossybox sent me one box and then I was finished with them. It depends on their policies and what time of the month you cancel, so make sure you read the small print.
- Beauty boxes offer limited edition boxes that anyone can buy, and they’re often fantastic value for money. Birchbox has a few available right now. I got the Glam Kit box before it sold out and really like it.
Are there other beauty boxes available? Of course! I’m not trying to talk about all beauty boxes (#NotAllBeautyBoxes), they just don’t appeal to me. I’m looking into donating unused items I have because I really do need to free up space. I will post an article later in the week of the best products I’ve gotten from Birchbox and Glossybox, because I don’t want it to seem as if I haven’t enjoyed anything from them when I definitely have. Hopefully this has been useful and for anyone who’s made it to the end of this mammoth piece, I admire your infinite patience.