Beauty Subscription Boxes - Why They're Not For Me...

I have always been open to the idea of these subscription beauty boxes and completely get that it's a fantastic way for us as consumers to discover new brands or products without having the expense of buying full size versions - especially if you are unsure whenever certain products are for you. I get the want to try before you buy.

Having received last months Birchbox* recently I must admit had I paid the £10 subscription cost I feel I would have been left a little disappointed. 

After reading enthusiastic blog reviews I know that I am likely to be in the minority with this take on the subscription box trend but I pride myself on giving an honest opinion in my blog posts, regardless of whenever I have received samples or have been in liaison with PRs. I don't feel this should compromise my true opinion or experience on any products I review. In fact many blogs that churn out glowing gushes of praise with no negatives or cons in return for free samples I often find myself unsubscribing from. I read blogs for personal opinions, not marketed clap trap - I can read magazines promotional features and adverts for that.

My gripe with subscription boxes? First of all - the sample sizes. A lot of the products I received would most likely be handed over free of charge on asking at your local department stores beauty counters. The sample sizes are not particularly generous, just standard what you'd expect as a freebie from magazines, counters and on brands websites. The positive being that you maybe introduced to new brands you may have otherwise overlooked.

Secondly, I don't think the products equate to £10's worth (+£2.95 p&p). Whist £13 may not be much to some, it is £1 from a full size MAC lipstick in a shade you may actually want, or a generous sized Soap and Glory product or two, there's change from a paint of Essie polish, or three Barry M's. You could also spend your £13 on that Real Techniques brush you've been after and will actually use. 

I have a basket full of samples which I say I'll get round to using but often never do because they are not appropriate to my skin type/tone etc...I fear a lot of the products included in subscription boxes are destined to join that basket which is why they are personally not for me.

I, like most people, love receiving parcels from the postman (which explains why I buy more than I probably should on eBay!) and I can see the attraction of consumers enjoying the element of surprise with a pretty wrapped box of 'hand picked' beauty products being delivered every month - but will they all get used? Is it really worth it? 

Admittedly the attractive packaging will be a welcomed addition to my make up storage and compliments my bedroom decor well. I am also keen to try the Laura Geller Beauty gel liner included in this months offering and those Lindt Lindor chocolates had made for a nice breakfast not even 2 minutes after the postman had shut my front gate...

Perhaps at £120 a year for 12 deliveries (Plus the £2.95 P&P cost each month) I am being a little bit of a miser. My opinion is not exclusive to the Birchbox I received, I feel the same with Glossybox and beauty subscriptions alike... for me personally I'd much rather buy one or two full sized product a month that I REALLY want, rather than sample sizes where most are destined to be shoved in a box collecting dust until my next clear out. 

I have a generous amount of samples which I've been sent from companies free of charge. If you are in the UK it is worth liking Freebies List on Facebook (click here) and keep your eyes peeled for their regular status updates. Whilst the freebies featured are not exclusively beauty related, most are. They scour the net for free samples and do all the hard work for you. You simply click the link, fill out your postal details and a few weeks later samples land on your doorstep - all for free. A collection of a few I have accumulated in the past six months or so (featuring Estee Lauder, Label M, MAC and Elizabeth Arden) are pictured below - and they didn't cost me a penny!

So what do you think? Do you have a beauty box subscription? How do you feel about them? Am I just being old and boring or can you see my perspective? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. I have been thinking about subscribing to a beauty box but after reading this I really don't think it is worth the money, I already have quite a few samples & even though I want to get around to using them I probably wont & I don't really need any more adding to the pile. Thank you for saving me £13 each month :)

    Ash xx

  2. Thank you for the good, honest feedback! I LOVE the idea of beauty boxs and I kept meaning to order one but the idea of a stack more samples doesnt appeal to me anymore, I totally agree with you and would rather spend moeny on a product I actually really want and will use :) xx

  3. I ummed and ahhed about getting a subscription for a while so my fiance subscribed me to Glossybox for four months for my birthday. I've enjoyed getting my glossy boxes and have used about half of the products from the two boxes I've had so far, and I'm intent on forcing myself to try the others too.

    Glossybox hasn't wowed me, though. It's nice but once the four months are up, the subscription will likely be cancelled.

    Birchbox, on the other hand, I'm a bit crazy for. Both he jan and feb boxes made me really wish I'd been subscribed and so with the remainder of my birthday money I bought a three month subscription. Now I was incredibly lucky with my first box, I got a beauty blender and the purple gel eye liner both of which are of pretty high value and both of which I love and the other samples in the box I really like.

    I think if it had Only been samples then they'd be rubbish, but there are some really redeeming items, too.

    I think a Lot of that is to do with the fact that Birchbox has only just come over here, which is why I decided to subscribe when I did. It seems likely that as the months go on the boxes will get worse, and so that's why I got them whilst they're still good.

    At the moment we have no money so the fact thay I pre paid for my birchbox means that I have something to look forward to whilst I can't afford to get anything. Will I keep getting them forever? Probably not, but for a little while they're rather fun :)

  4. I think they're incredibly hit and miss. I always tell people the same thing when they ask me about them - if you can drop a tenner on the ground and be over the trauma by the next day then they're worth a try. If you would still be traumatised by the loss of a tenner after a week then don't.

    I quite like them because I can try things I've always wanted to try but haven't got round to buying like cleansing balms and gel liners!

  5. Also thanks for the link to the fb page, that's going to be a real treasure trove for samples and the likes! Already should be getting three or four samples from what they have available at the moment, so thank you!/

  6. I think they are pretty expensive for what they are, and to be honest you only ever really get a good high end product every now and then. I think it is best just to get samples or testers!

    I have joined that group on Facebook.


  7. I unsubscribed last year because I understand it's the luck of the draw, but I was constantly missing out on any full size products. Was it just a coincidence to me that the popular bloggers that swooned me into signing up were receiving the HD brows kits, only for me to be getting perfume samples?

    I also found that during my time with a subscription, my beauty profile was constantly ignored. Like you I found it irritating paying for a box of samples that I could easily ask for over the counter if I really wanted to try them.

    Dusterknuckles | Fashion // Beauty // Lifestyle

  8. I agree with Phoebe - a lot of them are a hit and miss. I received my first box last week and was disappointed at the lack of makeup, but realized that the products I received were still awesome! After searching to see what other bloggers received and being surprised that mine was "worth" the least (finding the price through comparing sample size to full size), I'm still thrilled with it.
    I think it's because I am always trying new brands when I go to the pharmacy, and spending a lot of money each time, that I really like this way of trying the brands in smaller sizes. I completely understand why you don't like beauty boxes, though, it's an up and down game.

  9. your header is pretty cool

    xxx Zari

  10. This looks like a really great box! :) XO


    Enter my giveaway here

  11. I unsubscribed from glossy box ages ago after they soon turned out to be a waste of money, I like the concept of them but always have so much crap. I like the Latest In Beauty boxes are you see whats in it before you buy and it's not a ongoing sub, the latest one I've bought is in my blog post today actually! :)

  12. This is a great post - I was really thinking about getting one, but it doesnt look like much value for money does it?

    Love Zoe x

  13. I subscribe to Glossy Box and I do get very excited when I see a shiny new package arrive at my door. Sometimes this excitement is crushed as soon as I open the box. Usually I receive at least a new moisturiser or shower gel in most months, however some months I'm pleasantly surprised. Take the HD Brow pallet for instance which is worth over £20. I still use this pallet one year on. I guess you win in some and lose in other boxes.

    Love H xx

  14. I keep looking at the Birchboxes and being tempted to get involved but so often in blog posts I also see that it's just samples and I'm a sucker for keeping my make up the same every day. The fun of getting the box and seeing the new products is tempting but I think I agree that it's just not worth the cash x