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Makeup can very hit or miss. Things look shinier, pinker, or lighter in the box and when you take it out, it’s not what you expected. Especially if you order your makeup from a beauty consultant at Mary Kay or Avon like I do, it’s hard to tell if the $60 order you just made is going to be worth it. Recognizing this need, a new service has sprung up: beauty boxes. For a monthly or yearly subscription, much like a magazine, these companies will send you a selection of makeup and beauty sample to try. Each company has it’s own model, whether you get to choose the samples, how high end the samples are, how the samples are packaged, etc. Here’s a break down of some of my favorites and the popular options out there.

1.     Birchbox: $10 per month; $110 per year

Birchbox was the very first beauty box subscription service. They give you four to five samples of beauty and lifestyle products. Products range from CVS quality to high end. Every subscriber gets a different assortment of products each month based on a questionnaire. The current wait time to become a subscriber is about 4 months.

1.     Glossybox: $21 per month; $220 per year

Glossybox sends you five to six travel sized products from a selection of about ten based on your beauty profile. This is one of the highest end beauty boxes, hence the cost. But if you compare the cost to the value of the box, it ends up being a bargain. Glossybox is focused on giving customers access to high end products they might not otherwise get to try.

1.     Ipsy: $10 per month; $110 per year

Ipsy tends to have the most makeup products of all the boxes. They favor nail polish and lip color over face wash and creams. They send you four to five beauty samples, often full sized based on a beauty quiz. The products range from recognizable brands like Urban Decay to less popular brands and come in a cute little makeup bag. The more I consider trying a beauty box, the more I think about joining Ipsy, just to play with new styles.

1.     Beauty Army: $12 per month

The perk of BeautyArmy is that you get to choose what samples come in your box. They send you six samples a month based on your beauty quiz. If you don’t like the samples they’ve chosen for you, you can retake the quiz to generate new samples. Their samples are usually more drug-store quality with guest star samples from up-scale brands.

1.     Goodebox: $16 per shipment (monthly and bimonthly options)

Goodebox features healthy, eco-friendly beauty samples. Most of the brands featured in these boxes are more indie and something you will not likely find in a regular drug store. They send you up to seven trial-sized products that are sustainable based on a beauty profile that asks about things like skin types and allergies.


I'm a Duke freshman from Davidson, North Carolina. I've got a love for southern sorority fashion but with a hipster twist. Think: Lilly Pulitzer shorts at an Avett Brothers concert. I like to bring a touch of the runway to campus and track trends every season, between papers and hours in the library of course! XO SJH
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