Product Review: Best Beauty Boxes And Subscriptions

Everything you need to know about the make-up kits that come through the post


In recent months a host of subscription beauty boxes have launched online. The idea is that you subscribe and then each month you receive a box full of new sample, travel and full size beauty products to ‘try before you buy’. While you can’t choose what’s in the box, you can decide which you sign-up for. Read on for ELLE’s view…


Glossybox By Glossybox

Price: £10 + 2.95 p+p

Stockist: Glossybox

First impressions: The glossy red box, complete with ribbon and tissue paper wrapping gave this box a very occasional edge – the presentation lent itself superbly to being the perfect gift for a very close friend or sister.

Pros:  When you sign-up you fill in all your personal beauty details so the box will be tailored to suit you, plus you get leaflet with handy hints and tips to go with your five new miniature products. With 54 brands from Yves Saint Laurent and Philip Kingsley to lesser known brands like Ahava and Bio Effect all vying for a spot in the box you’ll be sure to get something really different every month.
Cons: Despite the profiling, there will occasionally be the odd product that just doesn’t float your boat, as it were. But that leaves you little stocking fillers or extra Birthday presents, but as this is likely to be a rare occurrence it’s more of a con for your friends!

Verdict: If you’re a beauty junkie and love trying new things then this will be ideal.



Joliebox By Joliebox

Price: £10 + £2.95 P+P

Stockist: Joliebox

First Impressions: In a sturdy black box the products came nestled in shredded paper, wrapped in tissue and tied with pink ribbon; great attention to detail. Including Korres Body Milk, a mini Zoya polish and StudioMakeup Lipstick, among others, it was like Christmas had come all over again.

Pros: Good size products which came with a handy leaflet divulging exactly how to use each item, along with the price of the full size item – so you can make an educated decision if you decide to invest in a full size. There was a good range of well known brands and lesser known such as Rahua, Palme and Colbert MD. 

Cons: There are only 24 brands on board so far and although each includes a range of products, it means less brand variety as you will be receiving a box every month. The boxes aren’t personalised but the brand aims to choose products to suit a wide range of customers.

Verdict: Good value for money and unusual brands included so you’re bound to discover something new every month.



Carmine By Carmine

Price: £10, plus P+P

Stockist: Carmine

First Impressions: Packaged in a sleek black box, at first it seemed like it was tad large for the contents inside (a little disappointing), however the samples instantly made up for the slightly misleading packaging. From night cream to eyeliner, brow ink to body wash, the box was packed with hero products worth over £40. 

Pros: Not being very adventurous in the beauty department I tend to stick with what I know for fear of wasting money. The beauty box is the perfect solution as you’re getting things you never would have tried or perhaps never even heard of; brands on board include Neom, Daniel Sandler, Weleda and Caudalie. Carmine also have a team of experts online providing tricks and tips to help users get the most out of their products, as well as links so you can buy the products online.

Cons: I would definitely sign up to this, however, the only real con is the chance that one month you may get things you really don’t want, although it’s a risk I’d be willing to take based on this box.

Verdict: This is a brilliant opportunity for anyone who is shy of trying and buying new products and inexpensive way of nudging you out of you beauty comfort zone.


Amarya By Amarya

Price: £10


First Impressions: The products IN the smart, clean white box were A good size and from high quality brands so I was instantly impressed, and pleasantly surprised. 

Pros: At just £10 a month, the box is an absolute bargain. With two good size products (a body wash and moisturiser) worth around £20 each as well as additional samples (a handy introduction to brands I might not have come across otherwise), my box would cost at least £40 to buy the contents separately - so you can’t really go wrong. Amarya only high-end stock natural and organic brands so it’s a great introduction to that area of beauty.

Cons: Unfortunately subscribing to the boxes doesn’t mean you can tailor the products to your skin type. So this is great if you like a surprise, but not so much for people with specific beauty needs. 

Verdict: Although the initial subscription is for 12 months, members can cancel at any time and the products were really useful, fully sized and of high quality so I would definitely consider subscribing. Beauty Box By 

Price: £9.95 includes P+P


First impression: A very impressive and hefty embossed black and purple box filled with good size samples from luxury brands including Redken and Nuxe.

Pros: With three of the samples being over 50ml and all from luxe brands it’s well worth the £9.95 monthly subscription fee. All the products are logged in your online account so they are easily found if you decide to buy the full size products.

Cons: You don’t know what’s going to be in the box each month which could be a pro if you like an element of surprise. Also, you aren’t asked to give much personal information at sign-up so the products aren’t specifically tailored to you.

Verdict: Super luxe and ideal if you like surprises.


Latest in Beauty By Latest in Beauty

Price: From £1

Stockist: Latest in Beauty

First impression: A pretty pink box that houses six sample size products that are perfect for the detox season including a Tea Pigs Tummy Tonic tea and Monu Recovery Balm.

Pros: Boxes include a great selection of samples from a good range of new and well-known brands. The themed boxes start at £4.95. There are six themed boxes per year (every other month), as well as monthly boxes of three samples for £1 paid via text message (which is tailored to suit you from the information you give during the sign-up process).

Cons: The packaging is not as luxe as some of the other boxes out there, but it is the best value and would you want to pay more for a cardboard box you’ll inevitably bin anyway?

Verdict: Well priced and a good way to try new products that would be an expensive gamble to buy without trying. Plus, you can see exactly what’s in the £4.95 themed box before you pay, so if you don’t like the look of it you don’t need to buy.

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