Beauty Box Subscription...Are They Worth It?
A a beauty-obsessed gal, I've seen many of these services come & go...and I've probably tried the majority of these at least once :) Surprisingly though, there are really only a hand-full out there that are even worth your time. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of companies and brands that have tried making their mark in this market and as a result, there have been quite a few sub-par services :(
This means that you end up spending your hard-earned cash on either items you won't use, don't like, or various issues. No worries though! The Beauty Closet has you covered: Check out the top 5 Beauty Box Subscription Services & learn why they beat out the competition!
1. JULEP "My Maven" $24.99/Month OR $19.99/Month w/3 month pre-paid sub.
I've been a Julep Maven for a couple of years now and I really do love their products. Their overall quality has only gotten better and I've had excellent experiences with customer service when I did have a couple of slight issues with shipping. Other than 2 occurrences, I've not had any issues with the service either. To get started, you need only take the short "Beauty Quiz" that creates a profile for possible products in your future monthly boxes, that Julep thinks you might enjoy.
Logging in around the 20th of each month, you can even choose to customize your box and either go with what Julep suggests, or pick items that you would rather go with that will be from the up-coming month's new collection. If you don't want to get a box for the month and want to prevent your card from getting auto-billed, you can sign into your acct. around this same time and "skip-the-month", as an option. What's really great about this service is that they even offer a free points system that lets you earn points every month you take a box, the month of your birthday, referring friends, and for things like your yearly anniversary with the service.
If I let my points accrue for a few months, I can usually get a FREE Maven box out of it = a free month :) Gift subs are also a great way to go, as you usually get a better deal out of 3, 6, & 12 month subscriptions. When it comes to extras, there are ways to get those as well. Each month when it's time to choose or customize your box, you can pick "add-ons" that are choice products that Julep doesn't offer in the month's current collection. You can purchase these for additional costs on your month's total, OR you can utilize your collected Jules [reward points]. As for the products themselves, their fantastic. Julep does a great job of coming out with new items and a variety of seasonal nail colors. I always look forward to the new collection each month :)
- FREE to sign up!
- Several options: month-to-month, 3/6/12 month pre-paid subs OR purchase individual products from the online store- NO membership required!
- Earn FREE Jules points to snag a free Maven box, add-ons, or exclusive Maven-only products in the Jule Box section at any time you want.
- Pricing starts @ $19.99 per month [3 month prepaid sub required] up to $34.99 per month [for Julep Maven Lux 3 month prepaid sub = $60+ of products!].
- Skip-the-month option prevents your card from being billed if you don't want your box!
- You can cancel the service at any time!
- FREE shipping and Maven-only discounts for members on all products on the site.
- They DO ship to Canada, the U.S.- including Hawaii & Alaska.
- If you want to skip your month, pick a customized box, or cancel the service all-together- this MUST be done between the 20th & 24th of the month. Otherwise, you will get billed :/
- Want to use a pre-paid card to bill your monthly subscription on? You won't be able to with this service- not even if you have Pay-pal connected to the account :( You can however use this type of card to pay for regular purchases on the site, but you will need a regular debit or credit card on file in order to receive a monthly subscription.
- They do NOT accept returns on monthly beauty boxes- only for defective or wrong products.
- Shipments arrive via FedEx SmartPost or the postal service. This can mean longer shipment times and lost or damaged orders.
- Not taking your monthly box? That's okay, but you won't have early access/first dibs on products that will be available in the Secret Store. These tend to go fast and I've missed out when I didn't take my box :/ You eventually gain access, but it's when everyone does and that means there aren't near as many options & products avail. by the time that happens.
2. Play! by Sephora $10 per month:
I got a personal invitation from Sephora a while back and I couldn't resist! What's great about this one, is that it costs $10 a month and that makes it very affordable ;) You get 5 deluxe samples each month and an additional fragrance scent sample too. Sephora does an excellent job of providing quality items that you would actually want to try & there are extra little bonuses each month like: a PLAY! PASS that entitles you to an in-store one-on-one tutorial & 50 bonus Beauty Insider points w/any product purchase if made during the same visit & a PLAY! BOOK that contains beauty tips & tricks.
Although you don't get to pick which products will be selected each month, Sephora does have you fill out a quick profile on your account that will help aid them in choosing products you'll like. Now although you can't put this service on hold, for only $10 a month- there really isn't much to lose- at such an affordable price. You can however, make changes to your shipping or billing information- you must do this by the first of the month, for the month's box that you will want the change to take effect.
Your monthly sub. does qualify for Beauty Insider points [50 pts. ea. month] and this can easily add up. If you are a Beauty Insider member with Sephora, these add up and will allow for you to snag member-only samples and other great beauty treats. This is one of the best bang-for-your-buck beauty services in my opinion, making it a monthly service that most any beauty-lover would adore :)
- Super affordable at only $10 per month!
- FREE Shipping!
- High-quality brands & products & include: boscia, fresh, Dr.Jart, Clinique, NARS, Sephora, Smashbox, Murad, & more!
- FREE extras ea. month- like a bonus fragrance sample and voucher for an in-store tutorial :)
- Extra bonus points for using the voucher AND making an in-store purchase AND for just taking your monthly box [50 free Beauty Insider pts. ea. month].
- You can cancel your membership at any time- just make sure to do this before the 1st of the month you would like to cancel or you will be billed.
- There's a wait list :( Now here's the deal: I've been a Beauty Insider with Sephora for a few years now and I got an email sent to me, with an invitation when the service first came out in Jan. 2016. However, if you haven't gotten one of these there's definitely still hope ;) Sign up on the waiting list at: sephora.com/play and they will send you an update via email on when a spot opens up.
- You can't customize your monthly box and it's instead, based on picks from the profile that you fill out online.
- The products aren't full-sized items- only samples. There are deluxe sample items, but that's as big as these beauty products are going to get. If you'd like to go with a regular size product, then you will be looking at purchasing on your own on Sehora's site.
- No skip-the-month option is available- you will get automatically billed each month for the service.
- You can't purchase this subscription service as a gift for yourself or someone else :( The only way to join, is to receive an email invitation.
- ONLY available currently in the U.S. [that doesn't include AK or HI].
3. Scentbird $14.95/Month:
Although this monthly beauty service offers up a very specific focus, it's a good one and I had to put it on this list as I've become quite a fan ;) I've ended up with quite a collection of perfumes and scents that I either never end up wearing or don't use that often. The ones I do, I've probably spent a bit too much money on and there are many half-empty bottles as a result :/ Luckily, Scentbird solves this problem by offering up a monthly scent in a re-usable case.
The amount of scent provided in ea. month's supply is around 8 ml., which doesn't sound like much but this ends up being plenty go get you through the entire month...there are still times when I haven't even gone through the entire bottle & it was a scent I really loved/used daily. For an even better value, there are options for a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription and that will save you anywhere from $6-$16!
What's great about this service, is that you can choose for a huge collection of scents and them place them in a "queue"- these will be the pool from which your monthly scent is chosen. To get started, there's a short scent quiz that will help in determining your scent preferences as well. With your first order, you receive a re-usable case that features a sleek/modern design: the entire case twists up/down and the replaceable monthly scent spray bottle pops up for easy application.
Scentbird even offers the service to men now as well and that makes this service a great pick for a gift for the special man in your life too! If you really love the scent you received for the month, there is also the option of ordering the full-sized version from Scentbird and you will receive a $15 discount credit off your purchase if you're a current subscription member :)
- FREE shipping!
- Affordable @ only $14.95 per month!
- Get a different quality scent ea. month- enough for 120 sprays :)
- Full-sized options available for purchase on the scents that you sample and love.
- Male & Female options = unisex service & makes a great gift!
- A-La-Carte Scentbird means you get as many perfumes as you want @ $16.95 ea.- NO need for waiting or subscription sign-up!
- Pick from a wide variety of Designer scents = 350 + !
- FREE referral program- for every friend you refer, you will get a FREE fragrance [month].
- Shipping isn't free and overall costs are higher for A La Carte option- cases are also NOT included [they have to be purchased separately for $12.95 :(
- They do NOT accept refunds on A La Carte orders or monthly subs, however full-sized purchased bottles can be returned w/in 15 days of deliver. Store credit will be issued ONLY and you must also pay for return shipping.
- They currently ship to the U.S. ONLY.
- No options to Skip-the-month
4. GlossyBox $21/month:
Glossybox has been around for a bit longer than some of the other beauty box subscription services and they really do things right ;) They even offer up Limited Edition boxes periodically with full-size beauty items and these specially curated boxes are valued at $148, for only $40! One of the reasons why I'm such a fan of this service in particular, is that they send out a wide variety of high-quality brands like: benefit, butter LONDON, BVLGARI, AHAVA, Ardency Inn, & more! There are 3 monthly plan options available, so you're not stuck with just a $21 a month plan- snag a 6 or 12-month plan.
You will save a bit when signing up for the yearly plan, as these are only $18.50 per month- if broken down. The last 2 mentioned subs do have to be paid entirely up-front though. This service does a great job of providing top-notch brands & deluxe-sized products, at a decent price. You won't get to customize the products that arrive in your box ea. month, but you will receive products that are based on the beauty profile that you fill out online in your set-up account.
- Only $21 ea. month and around $19 per. month for 5 Deluxe-size High-quality products!
- GLOSSYDots program helps you collect points by taking monthly boxes, purchasing 6 & 12-month subs. and even gain 20 GLOSSYDots for ea. survey you complete for feedback. If you refer a friend, then you will also earn points. Once you accumulate 1000 GLOSSYDots, you can trade it in for a FREE future box!
- Delivery to the U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, & Canada.
- There's not an option to skip the month, however you may cancel at any time, but you must do this by the 14th of the prior month of the upcoming charges.
- 6 & 12 month subscriptions can't be cancelled while the term is still current/in progress.
- Canadian subscribers must pay an additional $5 ea. month for shipping [for customs fees].
- You can't shop or access the site on: IE/Internet Explorer Browser, Safari Browser, & iPads & mobile phones.
5. BeautyDNA $25 per month
This is an awesome service and although it's at the bottom of the list, it's an overall excellent choice- one of my top picks :) The detailed profile that you fill out does take a little longer than the average subscription service, but it's worth the extra time! BeautyDNA's unique Beauty profile algorithm analyzes over 200 attributes to assign points to things like scents, textures, ingredients, and more. I would say that this is one of the main reasons why the service is one of my fav's and is so highly successful. Their products are full-sized items and includes brands like: Dr. Brandt, PCA Skin, Alchimie Forever, SkinCeuticals, & more! You can cancel at anytime, however you will need to do this 5 days before your ship date in order to avoid being charged. There's an included booklet that also describes why each of your products was chosen and what it can do :) Although you will only get 1 item a month, the products chosen normally have a higher value than the cost of your box.
- Only $25 per. month for a full-sized product = great deals on regularly-priced items, makes this a good buy for high-quality brands!
- Cancel at ANY time.
- One of the most personalized & detailed beauty profiles = matches you with products that are actually picked for you!
- Gift subs available and this makes a wonderful gift for any beauty-lover!
- You won't get the same product twice in the same year :(
- Shipping is FREE :)
- If you're seeking a beauty sub service that brings several products/samples ea. month- this probably isn't the service for you.
- No other subscription options available, only month-to-month.
- There's no customization or selection of your products.
- Shipments are sent via USPS, which can often take longer and can either get lost or damaged by the post office.