Sunday, July 22, 2012

REPORT CARD: 5 Beauty Box Companies // Jan - Jun 2012

it is time for the semiannual "report card" on five of the beauty box subscription services available in Canada: Topbox, Glymm, Loose Button, Glossybox and Beauty Box 5.
i took a look back on the previous 6 months (from January to June). i know that this overlaps a bit with my previous report card but i thought i'd make it easier if i started counting from the beginning of the year rather than from the first boxes i received (December 2011).
be warned that this is quite the lengthy post!
there is some missing data since i did not sign up for Glossybox until March, BB5 until May and i did not receive Loose Button's last monthly box for June.
i only included Loose Button for those of you that are curious about their past performance. since LB decided to no longer send out monthly boxes (and switch over to seasonal boxes), the following data on the company is probably not relevant anymore. 

i've tried my best to make the following Excel tables as easy to understand but here's a

  • purple font = these are "bonus" products. note that all totals DO NOT include bonus products. 
  • (number) = if there are brackets with a number beside a product, it means i have gotten that number of samples 
  • number with a circle around it = the number represents the number of samples i received of the same product while the circle indicates that this is a one-use sample 
  • i.e. in January's Luxe Box, i received 6 vials of perfume; in April's Glossybox, the BB cream sample i received was a bonus product that's intended for only one-use.
click on the pictures to get a better view!
note: makeup remover is listed under "Cosmetics" while cleansing cloths are considered "Skin Care". some of these items were really really hard to classify!! for instance, Benefit's POREfessional is a "primer/gel", but i had no idea what to classify Lise Watier's Flash Lift Radiance Vial (i just called it "flash lift radiance vial"). gift certificates are not included. even if there are different sizes of a product available for purchase, a mini sized sample is still regarded as a "full size".

* Sold out - waiting list is currently a few months long (~ Fall)
* Website? 
* Cost? $10/month; $10.50 including tax (AB)
* Number of samples? 4 "deluxe"
* Beauty profile? Yes
* Feedback surveys? Yes - allows you to customize your preferences for next month including type of packaging (normal vs. eco-friendly since April)
* Referral program? Yes - for each friend who joins, get 1 box free (limit of 6; invite through email via Topbox's website only)
* Other info? Topbox holds tons of giveaways of Facebook; also has a "Review & Win " section

Topbox has been really consistent in sending out 4 samples - and more often than not, they are deluxe-sized. for the month of February, where they sent out 5, 2 of the 5 were one-use samples.
the company also tends to have a full-sized and/or customized product in each box. 

* Website? or click my referral link please (i'll greatly appreciate it if you do!)
* Cost? $12/month since May; for active members prior to the change, price remains at $10/month ($10.50 for Albertans); can also purchase semiannual, annual or gift memberships
* Number of samples? 4-5 "deluxe"
* Beauty profile? Yes
* Feedback surveys? Yes - get 10 points for each one completed
* Referral program? Yes - earn 50 points for each referral; redeem 100 points for $10 off next purchase
* Other info? can shop online; GlymmMan also available; switched to using makeup bags instead of boxes since May; product cards discontinued since June

Glymm seems to send out a number of full-sized products but never anything personalized according to the consumer. 4 is the common number of samples in one box. one-use samples are also common.

* Website? or perhaps click on my referral link? :)
* Cost? $15/month 
* Number of samples? 5 "high-end"
* Beauty profile? Yes
* Feedback surveys? Yes - receive 20 points for each one completed
* Referral program? Yes - earn 200 points for each referral; redeem 1000 points for a free box
* Other info? there are apparently 4 different variations of the Glossybox each month, depending on your skin type

Glossybox always sends at least 5 products in their boxes (not including bonuses). when they do send bonuses,  they are samples that are intended for one-use only but you can expect at least 3 other full-sized items.

* Website? or many thanks if you join through my referral link :)
* Cost? $12 USD/month which translated to $12.28 CDN in April; can also purchase quarterly or yearly subscriptions
* Number of samples? 4-5
* Beauty profile? Yes
* Feedback surveys? No
* Referral program? Yes - invite 5 friends, get 1 box free
* Other info? no tracking information available for Canadians

there has been no consistency yet since i've only received two boxes from BB5 and one seemed to be filled with one-use samples while the other had more full sized items. also, in May there were hardly any cosmetic-related item while the June box was filled with them. so based on this, i cannot draw a conclusion.

* Requires an invitation to join
* Website?
* Cost? $26 + tax/quarter; can also purchase semiannual or annual memberships
* Number of samples? 7-8
* Beauty profile? N/A
* Feedback surveys? N/A
* Referral program? N/A
* Other info? most of the information is currently not available since the switch over from monthly boxes to quarterly boxes recently occurred (June 13); new quarterly boxes to ship in the months of February, May, August and November; there will also be "exclusive content" and "member-only" perks
* Curious about the previous version of LB? $12/month for 4-5 "deluxe" samples; had beauty profiles, feedback surveys, referral programs; also had a "First in Line" program which they used this year in January, March and April

Loose Button loved to send out shampoo and conditioner samples - and 4/5 times, they were one-use samples (in the horrible packaging). check out how many times "shampoo & conditioner" shows up!
LB is the only company that sent out any food bonuses this year (people still miss the jellybeans from Glymm).
even though the company had beauty profiles set up, no products were customized.

comparing across the board (with a number of limitations due to different subscription times):

some quick analysis:
* Topbox is the only company making use of your beauty profiles and feedback surveys to customize your box (well, Glossybox has done it once).
* Glossybox has sent out 13 full-sized items. Glymm gets second place with 7, which is a far cry from first place.
* i've received the most cosmetic-related samples from Topbox this year.
* Topbox seems to focus on 3 main areas: Cosmetics, Skin Care and Hair Care. they have not sent any perfume samples or anything bath-related (so far, BB5 is similar).
* Loose Button sent the most perfume samples.
* the majority of samples received from each company (except Glossybox) are cosmetics. most of Glossybox's samples have been skin care.

i decided to list the different brands of products from each company and found that Topbox, Glymm and Loose Button has sent out products from about 25 different brands. so there is quite the variety! however, it is common that a company sends out more than one product from a particular brand. for instance, i have received 3 different Wella products from Glossybox but most have only sent two or less products from each brand. 
the most prevalent brand among beauty boxes seems to be Cargo - i have received a total of 5 samples. other contenders include Simple and Paco Rabanne, both of which i have 4 samples each.
almost all the brands in my BB5 boxes were completely new to me - which is fine since i want to be introduced to new ones anyway - and since BB5 is more focused on natural products than other companies, this will benefit me even more :)


in regards to shipping, here are the locations the companies are shipping from:
* Topbox: Scarborough (Toronto), ON
* Glymm: Montreal, QC
* Glossybox: Mississauga, ON
* Beauty Box 5: Greenville, TX 
* Loose Button: Mississauga, ON
all companies except BB5 uses Canada Post Expedited Parcel service to deliver their box. BB5 uses UPS.

date the companies stated that they will ship boxes:
* Topbox: on the 10th of each month
* Glymm: week of the 10th
* Glossybox: varies
* Beauty Box 5: mid-month (15th)
* Loose Button: mid-month

  • shipped = when the item was processed
  • expected = estimated date it will be delivered; arrows indicate an estimate change because Canada Post received the item after cut-off time
  • delivered =  when it arrives in my mailbox/front porch
note: all the dates are taken from the Canada Post tracking info. for BB5 however, there is no tracking info, so it was based on the day i actually received it as well as the date on the postal sticker on the box.

there is the least amount of variance between Topbox's stated date of shipping and the date they actually did. sometimes, they even shipped earlier. i always always get Topbox first for each month.
lately, Glymm has slightly improved their shipping and i usually receive it shortly after Topbox.
Loose Button was pretty slow in delivery. hopefully this improves with the new changes!
Glossybox has had plenty of issues with CP. they have experienced delays in customs or have blamed CP for not sending out shipping notifications. in March, they only sent out reference numbers rather than individual tracking info. for May, i did not receive any tracking info at all. i always receive Glossybox very late in the month (29th was the earliest!) or in the beginning of the next month.
Beauty Box 5 takes 2-3 weeks to get to Canada, so i often get it at the beginning of the next month (around the same time i get Glossybox). 


hmm so last time i typed this, i was unsure of which one to unsubscribe to since i did not have the funds to continue to subscribing to all of them. at that time, i was only subscribed to 3. now i have 5. and i have not unsubscribed to any yet. what to do what to do! the excitement of getting a box every month has died down a bit but i'm still very eager to try new products or new brands. Loose Button is becoming only a seasonal thing and i am hoping that they change for the better: in terms of samples as well as customer service.
what i do know is that i will not be unsubscribing from Topbox anytime soon. i enjoy the ability to customize my boxes and from this, i find that i am making use of most of my samples from Topbox. i can't say the same for the other boxes. Glossybox has very good value but like i mentioned previously, they focus slightly more on skin care. they send out a lot of full-sized items but whether it is a drugstore brand or a higher-end brand is about 50/50.
BB5 has a brand list that is almost completely unknown to me but that helps broaden my knowledge on companies focused on natural products.
i've never been really wowed by Glymm - they've always been mediocre. but then there are those great moments when i get something like a brow gel or a duo lipstick/lip balm. it's just so hard to step away!

if you are interested in my reviews of ALL the boxes mentioned in this post, please feel free to either search it in the top right bar or scroll all the way down and selecting a label (i.e. "Glossybox" for all Glossybox entries).
i've included pictures of what i received in each box here if you wanted a quick glimpse:

Topbox (January to June 2012):

Glymm (January to June 2012):

Loose Button (January to May 2012):

Glossybox (March to June 2012):

Beauty Box 5 (May to June 2012):

phewww, thank you soooo much for reading!! i put a lot of time and effort into this so i hope you find it useful in making any decisions!


  1. Very good post, I'm sure it took a lot of time getting this together. I wanted to say that my BB5 has always been shipped USPS, now they are saying it's shipping UPS..I'm NOT happy about that. I'll be even more upset if I get brokerage fees. I once received a gift from the US shipped via UPS with a marked value of $ was scrapbooking supplies all crammed into a little box about the size of a glossybox. They wanted me to pay $45 in duties!!! On a gift! UGH.

    1. hmm yeah i actually read your comment on the FB page. strangely i didn't get a shipping notification though. i would be upset if there were any brokerage fees too! and that's terrible about your scrapbook supplies! i had an incident with shipping from the UK before - one dress and i had to pay shipping & duties about the same value as the dress.

  2. Hey! Excellent post - this is a great comparison and good reminder about what we got in those boxes many months ago :) I'm like you, I find it hard to cut subs as I love my surprises in the mail and playing the beauty lottery. I did manage to cut Glossy though and am pretty sure in the next couple of months I'll cut Glymm.

    I agree with Aleksandra about BB5 - if I have to pay brokerage fees on the box, I will NOT be happy. I don't mind waiting 3 weeks for my BB5 because at least there were no extra charges. I think they are trying to ship it more quickly to Canada and that's why they're trying UPS, I just hope it doesn't become a massive fail.

    1. thanks! lol playing the beauty lottery - great way of putting it!
      that's impressive that you are able to walk away! i'm thinking about cutting Glymm...
      i hope i get a BB5 this month! when i log in, it says that my membership has failed but they are taking forever to reply to emails...

  3. Wow, kudos to you for putting all of this together! This must have taken quite awhile to do! What a great comparison of all the boxes. I think I'll end up keeping all of them since I love my surprises. I know that if I unsub, I'll go online and see one product that I would have liked and wished I hadn't unsubbed.

    1. thank you jayne!
      i feel the same way! i'd regret it if i unsub and miss out on a great product.
      that's my way of thinking in regards to sales too - i can't miss out!

  4. Great report :) The only one I don't have and in the waiting line for is topbox.

    1. thanks for reading!
      and i hope it comes soon! that one is definitely worth it :)

  5. This comparison is utterly fantastic! Thank you so much for all of the hard work you put into it! It's very helpful, informative, and factual.

    1. you're welcome! and thanks so much for reading! i'm glad you dropped by!


thank you for reading! i appreciate your feedback and i read them all!
have a fantastic day :)

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