So you want to know which beauty box subscription is the best and the not so best? In the past two years, box subscriptions have become increasingly popular - there’s a box for puppies, accessories, cleaning supplies, makeup, books, artisan cheeses, and whatever else you can think of that fits in a box. The first beauty box subscription I ever tried was Birchbox (my fiance surprised me with a paid yearly subscription for our nine year anniversary). Birchbox advertises as offering “top brands” deluxe samples that include beauty and lifestyle products every month for 10$ (shipping included). Read below whether Birchbox is worth it or whether you should try a different subscription service.
Customer Service: The Birchbox customer service is very helpful and responsive to any inquiries - if any products are missing or if there is an issue with the shipping, Birchbox always addresses the problem. Thankfully, I did not have any issues with the boxes but when I tried to resolve an order with the points, a customer service representative answered within 24 hours.
Cost: I’ll address the cost further in the products included, but Birchbox costs $10 a month flat (no other fees). The price is lower than some other subscription boxes, and I feel more comfortable budgeting for $10 a month over a cost of $20-plus. You can pay for Birchbox every month (but first you have to be on a wait list for a few days) or you can pay yearly for $110 (where you receive one month’s box for free and no wait list).
Packaging and Shipping: Birchbox has become known for its simple yet cute boxes. Overall, the boxes are safe and sturdy - Birchbox always emails when the box is shipped and provides a tracking number. The items are packaged in pink tissue paper, and there is always an information card on how to use the various items.
Point Reward System: The best feature of this subscription service is the reward system. For every item reviewed online, Birchbox awards ten reward points that can be used for cash in the Birchbox store (however, the review must be done in the same month you received the product). For every dollar you spend in the Birchbox store, you receive a point. If you do the math, several Birchboxes pay for themselves because you can easily accumulate points - I had a total of $70 to spend on the Birchbox website. Along with Laura Mercier and Jouer makeup, I also purchased a Chambre de Sucre Macaron box because Birchbox offers a variety of lifestyle products and points can be used on any type of item.
Products Included - Sample Size: Overall, the samples are lacking - samples are teeny tiny (definitely not deluxe size as advertized) and most often, I received lotion packets or plastic tubes with perfume. For skincare items, I was surprised at the small amount of product. Sure, skincare takes time to be effective, but I bet a tear-sized drop isn’t doing much either (and I used the word ‘tear’ on purpose, because that’s how sad I was to receive a ridiculous miniature item on more than one occasion). This is one beauty subscription where I can comfortably say you will not receive full sized products - the only full sized item I can recall is a pop beauty lip gloss, a Chella highlighting pen, and a Chapstick balm (…le sigh). The size of the samples is what ultimately contributed to my decision to not renew Birchbox.
Products Included - Brands: My other gripe with the products that Birchbox carries is the brands that are actually sent out. I received two quarter sized blushes from the Balm, a Dr. Jart BB cream, a Lancome mini mascara, and a small Benefit Sugarbomb lip gloss - everything else was from brands I barely knew or brands I’ve never heard of before (and I’m a beauty blogger for god’s sake!). It used to be that Birchbox carried higher end brands but during the year I subscribed, other subscription services (cough, Ipsy, cough) sent better products. For example, I received two mini Color Club polishes, and my sister received a full sized Zoya and a mini Butter London from Ipsy during the same time period.
Products Included - Type of Items: If you want to receive mostly makeup and are looking for a beauty subscription box, then Birchbox is not for you. I’ve received hair ties, plastic makeup bags, a pen, candy, food, a tea bag, a nail file, and bobby pins (so that’s eight months where one item was a lifestyle item). Some months, the boxes were more balanced in terms of beauty products but for the most part, there was no thoughtful curation of the products.
Products Included - Conclusion: And we finally get to the main attraction - should you subscribe to Birchbox? What products are really included in a Birchbox? As you can see from the photos, the answer is …”just okay” products - not the best-omg-how-lucky-am-I and not the worst-what-were-they-thinking either. Birchbox doesn’t pay for the actual samples and companies provide them for free - customers basically pay to try samples. I would strongly recommend Birchbox for some months, and I would definitely not recommend it for other months - based on this, take a look at what other people received and ask yourself if you need any of the items and are willing to pay to receive those samples.
Let us know in the comments - what has been your experience with Birchbox? Do you plan to subscribe or cancel your subscription? I did not renew and am currently subscribed to Ipsy, but if Birchbox overhauls their product sizes and brand variety, I would definitely return as the Birchbox subscription service has several positive aspects.
Visit Birchbox.com for more information and details about the boxes.
Stay Pretty, Miranda M.