Best Beauty Subscription Boxes

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Taylor Hickney

Updated Oct 26, 2018

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Best Overall

FabFitFun

Best for Personalization

Ipsy

Best for Makeup

Play! by Sephora

Best for Finding New Products

BirchBox

The Best Beauty Subscription Boxes Of 2018

5 Beauty Subscription Box Considered 4 Top Picks

Intro

Everyone loves getting mail, no matter how old you are. Imagine coming home from a bad day - especially a cold, rainy one in a city like NYC - and finding a beautiful box of makeup and skincare waiting for you at home. The beauty of subscription boxes is that they come right to your door. No errands, no hassle, and you get to try dozens of products without paying full price. We’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best beauty subscription boxes based on value, product quality, customer service, and consumer enthusiasm.

Best Overall

FabFitFun

Check Price

Customers of FabFitFun could rave about the brand all day. FabFitFun costs $50 four times a year (per season), which customers find to be more than doable when planning a monthly budget. With this subscription, you get 8-10 full-size products for health, beauty, home, and fitness. Each box is geared towards the upcoming season. For example, the Fall 2018 box included a GlamGlow sheet mask (which, if you know face masks, is a STEAL), an espresso machine, and adorable fall tea towels, among other things. Each box has a retail value of over $200, and you get it all for just $50!

Pros

  • Incredible value
  • Products people actually like
  • Can exchange add-ons if unsatisfied

Cons

  • Boxes may arrive damaged
  • Most items kept secret until delivery
  • Some waiting period (boxes don’t ship at same time)

Best for Personalization

Inspired by ipse, the Latin word for self, Ipsy is all about you. Customers swear by Ipsy because it’s only $10/month and you get five full-sized or sample items, plus a makeup bag. Ipsy is great for those who are balling-on-a-budget; it’s not a full $50 per box, like FabFitFun, but you still get to partake in the fun of subscription boxes while slowly adding to your makeup supply. When signing up, you enter your information like skin tone, eye color, etc., and then choose brands you love or would like to try. These include, but are not limited to, BareMinerals, ColourPop, Essie, Kat Von D, GlamGlow, Nyx, NARS, Smashbox, and Urban Decay - all of my favorites! We love this box because you get to make it work for you. You get out of it what you put into it.

Pros

  • Completely customizable
  • Affordable
  • High-quality products

Cons

  • Waiting list for new members
  • Products can be hit or miss

Best for Makeup

Play! by Sephora Check Price

Play! by Sephora takes the cake for makeup boxes because it’s from Sephora, the nation’s biggest makeup store. Anyone who knows makeup knows and loves Sephora - and they also know how much you can drop within a single trip there. The beauty box operates similarly enough to others: you get five trial-size products for $10/month. The best part about this box: the brands. You get the top beauty and skin brands, like Drunk Elephant, Anastasia, Tarte, YSL, and BareMinerals. You don’t get to customize it quite like you do with Ipsy, but if you’re willing to roll the dice, it’s worth it.

Pros

  • Redeem points given with box in-store
  • Best product quality
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Cannot skip months
  • Waiting list

Best for Finding New Products

BirchBox

Check Price

Birchbox is a lot like Ipsy, but it’s meant to be a sample box. For $10/month, you get five sample-size products that you can customize to your hairstyle, skin complexion, and makeup preferences. Birchbox will send you both niche and prestige brands, and if you like what you get, you can purchase the full-size product at a discounted price. You also get loyalty points for every purchase outside of the box you make. Each month, you review the items in your box to help Birchbox serve you better.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Affordable price
  • Option to buy full-size products

Cons

  • Can’t customize by ingredients (say, for allergies)
  • Small samples

Buying Guide

Product Quality
There are so many subscription boxes out there that finding the best one for you can be like finding a needle in a haystack. You want to find a box that offers you the highest-quality products for the lowest price. Some boxes are geared more towards makeup, while others focus on skincare, with everything in between. It’s important to research the one with the right products for you before you sign up for a monthly subscription. You should also sign up for the one that offers the brands you use the most, not necessarily the one with the “most elite” brands. 


Other Factors
Some boxes are more convenient than others in that you can skip months at no cost or cancel easily if unsatisfied. The best ones have professional, easy customer service that offers flexibility depending on your schedule, budget, etc. These are the boxes you want - few things are more annoying than spending half an hour on the phone, often on hold, just to cancel a small subscription.

About the Author

Taylor Hickney

I’m currently a writer, editor, and student at The New School in New York City for an MFA in Fiction. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in English Writing, Magna Cum Laude. I write fiction and cultural pieces for magazines like World Literature Today and D Magazine. Commas are important, and I hate surprises. A big thanks to Amy Poehler and Mexican food for getting me this far in life.

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About the Author

Taylor Hickney

I’m currently a writer, editor, and student at The New School in New York City for an MFA in Fiction. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in English Writing, Magna Cum Laude. I write fiction and cultural pieces for magazines like World Literature Today and D Magazine. Commas are important, and I hate surprises. A big thanks to Amy Poehler and Mexican food for getting me this far in life.

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