One of the most fun aspects of the beauty world nowadays is beauty subscription boxes, am I right? It’s just so fun getting a box each month (or quarterly) full of new makeup, skin care, and hair care to play with!
There are so many subscription boxes out there, that it can be hard to choose one. That’s why I’ve decided to put together a small list of what I believe to be the best ones! I’m only subscribed to one of these, but I’ve done a ton of research, and my favorite actually isn’t the one that I’m subscribed to!
Note: I’m not affiliated with any of these brands — none of these brands are sponsoring me and I’m not making any money from links on here.
Sephora Play! is actually the only one on the list that I personally am subscribed to, so I do have my own formed opinions on this one. But first, I’ll just give you the facts.
Play! is a subscription box from Sephora that you’ll receive monthly. Each month, you’ll get five deluxe samples plus a bonus fragrance sample in your box. Each one comes with a cute little bag, too!
The perk? You know you’re getting great, high-end brands — all are offered at Sephora, so that means no drugstore brands. The downside? Everything is a sample size (sometimes very small) and you’ll never get a full-sized products.
The box is only $10 a month (including shipping!), so even though it’s only samples, you’re getting a pretty great deal for the price. It’s a great way to try out expensive products without having to buy a full-size of it!
This box is perfect for people who are avid shoppers at Sephora: it will stop you from spending money on products that you aren’t sure you’re like, but will also get you to find some new favorites that you might not have otherwise.
A past box example (September 2017):
- Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Deep
- Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof in Black Lace
- Algenist POWER Recharging Night Pressed Serum
- Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Amulet
- belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb
- IGK Hot Girls Shampoo and Conditioner
Having a Play! box subscription also earns you special perks in-store. You’ll get a Play! Pass in each box, which earns you 50 bonus Beauty Insider points if you bring it in the store that month and make a purchase. There also is a Play! date each month in select stores, where you’ll get to talk with beauty experts and sample more products, as well as getting product demos. This event is only for subscribers, and you even get to bring a friend!
Boxycharm is a monthly beauty box that you can subscribe to for $21 a month, and they also offer plans where you can pre-pay for multiple months and receive a discount.
The amazing thing about this box is that you receive ALL full-size products — 4 to 5 of them! Considering the price, that’s a steal. Each box has a value of $100 or more!
This box is PERFECT for beauty lovers looking to add pieces to their collection. Boxycharm does a great job of mixing well-known brands with indie brands that you might not have tried without the subscription.
Example of a Past Box (September 2017):
- PUR The Complexion Soiree Diaries Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00)
- Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip ($6.00)
- Mac Cosmetics Eyebrow pencil ($18.00)
- bareMinerals Face Perfecting Brush ($28.00)
- Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask ($20.00)
- Studio Makeup HD Powder ($35.00)
- Bodyography Brush Duo ($20.00)
- Studio Makeup Loose Blush ($35.00)
Now, you won’t get ALL of those items. Each person will get some combination of those, but only 4-5 of them. That’s just everything that was offered in each box for the month! Regardless, those are some pretty great products and as you can see, you’re saving a ton of money than if you had purchased those all individually.
This is one of the very first beauty subscription boxes that was out there. Personally, it was the first one I ever heard of and I remember thinking how cool of a concept it was!
Birchbox is only $10 a month, and you get a personalized mix of five hair, makeup, skincare, and fragrance samples in each box. That’s the great part — if you’re not into one of those categories, it’s personalized toward your preferences!
You can even purchase a subscription for the entire year when you pre-pay (and it’s only $99 if you use the code BESTYEAR99)!
If you use the code LETSROLL at checkout, you get a free gift with your first box — right now it’s TWO travel-size Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super-Curling & Lifting Mascaras.
Birchbox is actually more complicated than this, though. They have multiple options of different boxes that you can subscribe to.
First of all, you can actually shop for numerous beauty products directly on the site (full-sized).
Also, they’re currently testing a beta version of the box!
The original box, at $10 a month, is exactly what I described above. It’s a box of five samples each month, and they offer samples or curated boxes. You fill out a beauty profile to help them know your preferences. You’ll also get the option to customize your box by choosing a specific sample or adding full-sized products to ship with your box.
The beta version of the Birchbox, Birchbox Select, is just $5 more a month, so $15 total. With this box, you still get the 5 samples, the monthly sample choice, and the monthly curated box choice.
The special perks you get with the Birchbox Select are:
- Pick One, Skip One: You pick a sample type you’d like to receive and/or exclude from your upcoming box (ex: “send me a toner this month, skip the mascara!). The products will still be a surprise, and your options change each month.
- Spotlight Boxes: Not a big fan of surprises? With this option, you can opt out of your personalized box and choose a box that’s already curated that fit specific beauty needs (ex: frizzy hair). These options change every month.
- Swap for Points: If there’s a month that you don’t want to receive a box, you can get Birchbox Loyalty Points instead. Birchbox will add points to your account on the 1st of the month that can be redeemed as payment toward your future Shop orders. You can swap out a box for points four times in a year-long period.
All in all, Birchbox is the perfect option if you prefer to get personalized items and a ton of different options!
This is the one box on the list that isn’t monthly. FabFitFun is a box that you opt-in to each time there’s a new one: 4 times a year. One box is $49.99 — seems pricy, but remember that it’s only 4x a year AND you get multiple full-sized products. Their site says the boxes are worth $200, so you’re definitely getting the bang out of your buck!
FabFitFun is unique to this list because it’s a lifestyle box — not just a beauty box! However, I decided to include it in the list because it generally includes multiple beauty items.
Example of a Past Box (Summer 2017):
- Michael Stars Ruana ($54)
- Kris Nations Mystic Bar Necklace ($58)
- BKR Bottle ($35)
- Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate ($29)
- Avene Eau Thermale Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion ($24)
- Cargo HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze ($30)
- Way of Will Post Training Massage Oil ($29.50)
- Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($20)
- Salted Himalayan Pink Salt Kit ($26) OR Understated Leather Travel Set ($28) OR Amy Tangerine Art Kit ($22)
When you’re an annual subscriber, you get to choose the color/print of each item (the ones that come in multiple colors/prints, that is). The last item is something that all subscribers were able to choose from — Chef, Traveler, or Artist. As you can see, this box was worth about $300. That’s INSANE considering the fact you’re only paying $49!
FabFitFun also offers an Editor’s Box each quarter — this is sent to first-time subscribers.
Here’s what was in that box for Summer 2017, to give you an idea of what you might get if you subscribe for the first time:
- Michael Stars Ruana ($54)
- Spongelle Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Buffer ($16)
- LUV AJ Full Bloom Lariat in Rose Gold ($75)
- Real Her Playbook II Shadow Palette ($28)
- BKR Bottle ($35)
- Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme ($24)
- Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion ($58)
- Manna Kadar LipLocked Priming Gloss Stain in Lucky ($24)
- MILLY Zip Pouch ($45)
Obviously, I currently am subscribed to Sephora Play! While I really enjoy that box, it’s not my number one pick!
If I had the choice between the four of these now and could only choose one, I would choose Boxycharm. It fits my needs the best, and has (in my opinion) the best value.