A Year in Review: My Many Beauty Subscription Boxes

7 Aug

I can’t believe it’s already been an entire YEAR since I became a Birchbox subscriber. Today I received a pretty pink leather key chain in the mail from Birchbox as a ‘thank you’ for my membership, along with a 25% off discount code (bblove25). Birchbox was gateway drug into the world of beauty subscriptions. Some good, some bad, some really abhorrent. Read below for my thoughts on each beauty box that I have subscribed to over the past year.

In order from most favorite to craptastic:

1. Birchbox (birchbox.com) My first service, my favorite service. Birchbox continues to be the absolute front runner in my raging sea of beauty subscriptions. At $10 per month and the amazing point system in place, the bang for your buck is fabulous. All of my interaction with the Birchbox staff has been incredibly pleasant. Sure, some months the box content isn’t my taste. But most of the time, I’m consistently pleased with my boxes. This is the ONLY service that I considered purchasing (and eventually did)  an annual subscription. They aren’t a fly-by-night company like SO many of these beauty boxes are. Birchbox is probably the most stable and respected beauty subscription service in the industry. It’s the gold standard, the Maserati, the Chanel… you get the idea. View all of my Birchboxes here.

2. QVC New Beauty Test Tube (QVC.com). I know I said Birchbox was my first monthly subscription, but I’ve been a subscriber of the quarterly Test Tube since January of 2011, technically making it my first beauty box ever. When you subscribe through QVC, you can opt in for “auto delivery” of 4 quarterly shipments throughout the year. This is my favorite beauty subscription behind Birchbox. Because it’s delivered every 3 months, you typically get 8 or 9 items that are either deluxe sample sizes or full sizes. Every single tube I’ve gotten has contained full size products that at least double the value of what I paid for the tube, which is about $29 per quarter not including tax and shipping. I can’t see myself ever giving up the Test Tube.  View all of my Test Tubes here.

3. Cravebox (cravebox.com). I am convinced that the reason I love my Cravebox subscription so much is because I NEVER know what to expect. Sometimes it’s beauty, sometimes food, and sometimes I get the most randomly quirky items that I would never have discovered had it not been for receiving it in my Cravebox. I’ve been a subscriber for 9 months now… since the early beta stages. And every single month I’ve been pleasantly surprised. A few times I have been literally amazed at the stuff they’ve given me for my $10 per month. They are becoming more and more popular, but only have their membership slots open to a controlled number of people. I wish more companies would follow the Cravebox methodology and not take on more subscribers than they can handle. They have managed to deliver quality boxes and keep me a very happy subscriber. View all of my Craveboxes here.

4. Beauty Army (beautyarmy.com). Being one of the newer beauty box subscriptions to the scene, everyone was pretty skeptical of Beauty Army. I’m happy to say that I’ve been a satisfied member for 8 months now. I’ve received great customer service and have discovered some awesome products through my subscription. It’s been pretty cool watching this company flourish from the ground up. They are set apart by the ability to pick your own samples, skip a delivery, and their fabulous reusable packaging. Beauty Army is pricier than Birchbox at $12.99 per month, but the service continues to be worth it in my eyes. I continue to be a happy subscriber.View all of my Beauty Army kits here.

5. Julep (julep.com). I have been a Julep Maven for 9 months. I think if I was ranking this list by company performance, Julep would definitely be number 1. They continue to provide flawless execution of my deliveries every single month. I’ve never even had a single hiccup with my Julep service. Not a false charge, not a late shipment, not a defective product, nothing. I continue to be thoroughly impressed with what a well-oiled machine Julep seems to be. And out of all the monthly services, Julep has the best incentive to become a member by offering your first month for one penny (Use code COLOR2012 or PENNY at checkout). It’s number 5 on my list because it’s primarily a nail polish service (I’m not necessarily a polish freak) and it’s more costly at $19.99 per month. But they have a great referral system that gives you one month free for every two people you refer, and with the penny promo code, it’s easy to convince your friends to sign up. I always love the cute little freebies they throw into every box, whether it’s candy or a nail file, it’s always a nice little treat. View all of my Julep boxes here.

6. MyGlam (myglam.com). Even though the MyGlam service has improved over the last few months, it still ranks below my other subscriptions. They started out with so many problems and have been slowly but surely ironing them all out. I like the idea of how they include a differently designed pouch to encase your monthly samples, but some of them have been so unmistakably cheap that I’ve just tossed them in the garbage. And 3 of my deliveries have been so STINKY lol. The bag materials reacted to the heat from shipping and produced a really disgusting chemical-like odor. It goes away, but it’s unpleasant. PR-wise, MyGlam is probably my least favorite service. It’s a little annoying being called a “Glammie” 24/7. They also really need to get a referral system in place to even come close to the awesomeness level of Birchbox. August will be my 8th MyGlam delivery and I’ve been satisfied with the majority of stuff that I’ve received. I do think this company is here for the long haul and has great potential. By this time next year, I predict MyGlam will be much higher on this list. View all of my MyGlam bags here.

7. The Look Bag (thelookstore.com). I have had such a love/hate relationship with The Look Bag. Some months have been SO good, and some months I didn’t even waste my time blogging about. I think The Look Bag entails the typical “bit off more than I could chew” sentiment because they have had nothing but problems lately. I’ve been double charged, had a shipment delivered to my billing address instead of my shipping address, and the big doozey was when I had 10 random people’s billing/shipping info show up on MY account settings screen. Major, MAJOR breach of sensitive customer info. All of these problems made me a little sad because I was starting to really love my Look Bag deliveries. I had been going back and forth on whether to cancel or keep my subscription because the products were really starting to improve. Then BAM, last week my decision was made for me. The Look Bag announced they were going to be cancelling their subscription service. And then before you could blink, they took to their Facebook page and said HAHA SIKE, we’re not really cancelling! Which, in turn, has turned me off from the service all together. I might consider resubscribing when they’ve proven to be non-schizophrenic. View most of my Look Bags here.

8. Sample Society (beautybar.com). I was a member of Sample Society from March to May, 2012. I predicted that I wouldn’t be a member long because of the $15/month price tag. I just wasn’t impressed with the stuff I was getting. Out of my 3 deliveries, 6 items were products/samples that I had already gotten from another service. I was essentially paying for repeat items. Cancelling was easy, I did it right from my account page on their website without having to contact anyone. But as far as value and quality of products, Sample Society was my least favorite. I blogged about one of my Sample Society boxes, you can view it here.

9. GoGoGirlfriend. Holy mother of God, the fuckery that was GoGoGirlfriend. I can’t even summarize it in a few sentences. Feel free to read my rant that I posted about this service back in February.

I’m also an avid lover of Little Black Bag, which is also technically a subscription, but since you can skip or open a new bag any time you want, I don’t really think it fits into this list. You can view all of my Little Black Bag purchases here.

If any of you are new to the subscription world and have any questions about a service that I haven’t addressed, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll answer it if I can :)

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4 Responses to “A Year in Review: My Many Beauty Subscription Boxes”

  1. jess September 15, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Just cancelled my Julep subscription by leaving a message (I’m never home during their hours). Wish I didn’t have to though!

    • Chelsey September 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Awww, boo. I do love how easy it is to cancel though :)

  2. Bonnie McMahan September 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    I just canceled my “Sample Society/Beauty Bar” subscription for one of the very reason you stated in your blog – too many repeat samples (also received in other sample boxes) for more $$! So, what prompted me to leave a comment today, Sept 28th?
    As soon as I canceled my subscription, an email popped up in my inbox from my bank informing me that a charge was just made to my account.
    Guess what was just charged? Sadly & irritatingly, it WAS from “Sample Society” & they charged me one last time for a last “one for the road”! I’ve NEVER been charged at the end of the month for the next month’s box! I was JUST charged on the 6th of Sept. for a box that didn’t ship until Sept. 17th. By canceling today I truly thought that would be it. Obviously not…

  3. Kimberlee April 2, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I got my first month and am awaiting my second month with Pantyfly.com, I can not wait, I also signed up for Birch Box and am awaiting my first month on that one. Even though they have been around I am new to the subscription box thing. My girlfriend turned me on to them, anywho if we find any other really good ones I can not wait to hear, I am truly addicted

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