Tuesday, February 05, 2013

REPORT CARD: 6 Beauty Box Companies // Jul - Dec 2012

oh my. it is, once again, time to report on the many many beauty box subscription companies out there. my first 'report card' focused on 3 companies, the next was on 5 and here we are now with 6.
if you want, you can read the first report card here or the report card for January to June 2012 here.

as more companies enter the market and as demand for these sample boxes appear to be tapering off, we are faced with the decision of which companies we actually want to remain subscribed to. i know i am facing quite a mountain of products in my bedroom that i will have to deal with soon...
i hope this post helps you with your decision. be warned that this is a rather lengthy post! there are pictures at the end of you just want to take a look at all the boxes :) 

i stuck with the same legend as before:

  • 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 July's Glossybox, i received 4 makeup sanitizer wipes that are intended to be one-use only 
- gift cards are not included.
- makeup remover wipes are classified under "Cosmetics"; cleansing cloths are under "Skin Care".
- if a mini-size of a product was received and is available for sale in this size, it is still considered a "full sized" item.

* Sold out - waitlist is currently a "few months" long
* Website?
* Cost? $10/month $12.00/month; $12.60 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)
* Referral program? Yes - for each every 3 friends who join, get 1 box free (limit of 6; invite through email via Topbox's website only)
* Other info? shop online (limited selection); tons of giveaways on Facebook; a "Review & Win " section;
the new "Privé box" - from February and onward, you may choose a brand offered by Topbox and you may receive a box featuring that brand. otherwise, you will get a regular Topbox.
* My thoughts: 
i have a love-hate relationship with Topbox. i really don't know what to do with them!! they were the very first company i subbed to. i had fabulous boxes from them but since they opened up subscriptions sometime during fall last year and started sending out fragrances, it went drastically downhill. oh and not to mention, the price has gone up. i can't believe how disappointing the December box was.
Topbox stays pretty true to their claim of 4 products in a box - occasionally they add a bonus item or the 5th would be a one-use sample. the only customization i've been seeing lately is through nail polish colors. 
we will have to see how i feel about these Privé boxes before making a final decision.

* Website? or click on my referral link?
* Cost? $12/month since May; for active members prior to the change, price remains at $10) $15/month since February 2013 for ALL members; 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; 100 points = $10 off next purchase
* Other info? can shop online; Glymm Man & Glymm MAMA also available; switched to using makeup bags instead of boxes since May
* My thoughts:
this may be biased because i just opened my January Glymm bag - "seriously?" was what i was thinking the whole time. they jacked up their price (again), made secret changes on their website and to think that this bag is supposed to demonstrate that the price increase was worth it? nuh uh.
if i am looking at just the data for the last half of 2012, it was pretty decent. i was introduced to some brands that i really really enjoyed (EVOLVH, The Beehive, Villainess) but the majority of the samples tend to lean on the itty bitty side. more often than not, there will be one or two skincare-related items in your bag.
one of the best features of subscribing to Glymm is their loyalty program. however, there has been hush-hush changes to that (oh and free shipping starts at $100 now instead of $50).

* Website? or perhaps click on my referral link? :)
* Cost? $15/month $21/month since November
* Number of samples? 5 "high-end" "deluxe"
* Beauty profile? Yes
* Feedback surveys? Yes - receive 20 points for each one completed
* Referral program? Yes - earn 200 points for each referral; 1000 points = free box
* Other info? Glossyboxes are available in 16 other countries
*My thoughts:
holy price hike! lately, there has been a lot of negativity surrounding Glossybox - due to the price increase as well as the discontinued/expired products from December's fiasco. Glossybox seems to make a lot of claims - "high-end", "niche" and "sources from the best cosmetic companies" - all of which have been directly challenged. there is no shortage of full sized items in Glossyboxes but they can all be found at your local drugstore. i have raked in enough Glossydots to redeem for a free box... but after that, it will be hard for me to justify paying $21 to build up my collection of Aveeno moisturizers.

* Website? or many thanks if you join through my referral link :)
* Cost? $12 US/month; 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? tracking info provided is pretty useless for Canadians
*My thoughts:
BB5 started off slow but they have made their mark in the beauty box industry. they have continually introduced me to new brands and new products. BB5 is the only one i do not have a monthly subscription for - i have the quarterly one but i am seriously considering a yearly subscription (if i cancel some of the others) - it is one of the best deals out there! if you like cosmetics, then this box will meet your needs.

* Website?
* Cost? $26/quarter ($27.30 with tax for Albertans); can also purchase semiannual, annual or gift memberships
* Number of samples? 7-8 "trial-sized"
* Beauty profile? No
* Feedback surveys? No
* Referral program? No
* Other info? switched from monthly to quarterly boxes back in June; quarterly boxes ship in the months of February, May, August and November March, June, September and December (bumped over a month because even though they switched to quarterly, they are still super slow at shipping); subscription has some "perks" - also has First in Line program; Luxe Box for Men is available; shop online at their Luxe Boutique 
*My thoughts:
yes, the silk-like packaging and monogrammed stickers are luxe but when you really think about it, it's almost $30 a box! so i don't know... i am sort of on the fence about this one too. then again, since it is only quarterly, it doesn't seem to sting as much. 
both quarterly boxes i received contained 8 items, at least 1 of which was a Loose Button item (exfoliating pad, kabuki brush, false eyelashes). the Loose Button item will be full sized and there would be 2 other full-sized items in the box.

*Sold out - length of time on waitlist is unknown
* Website?
* Cost? $10 + $4.95 shipping US/month; annual membership also available
* Number of samples? no specified number but both "deluxe" and "full sized" terms are used
* Beauty profile? No but you complete a beauty quiz when you first sign up
* Feedback surveys? No
* Referral program? No
* Other info? all about the community - you can compete in Look Challenges, create videos, comment on other looks people have created...
*My thoughts:
i am loving my ipsy right now! i initially signed up for beauty boxes because i wanted more makeup and this particular subscription really delivers. they have shipped all makeup with the exception of 1 skincare product per bag. they have also partnered with some more prestigious brands such as Urban Decay and Benefit. there has been at least 2 full sized products in the last 2 bags - i like!

- - - - -

a quick summary:

and a quick analysis:
* customization has really gone down as more people subscribe. next time i do a report card, there will probably be no use for that column anymore! 
* you will get 1 full sized product from Topbox 50% of the time while it's a toss up for Glymm...
* Glossybox averages about 3 full sized products each month - same with Loose Button
* with BB5, you will get at least 1, and with ipsy, at least 2 (so far anyways)

* Glymm, BB5 and Loose Button seem to have the most variety in products but their main focus is still cosmetics
* skin care is huge for Topbox
* ipsy is the most makeup-oriented box
* only Glossybox and ipsy are fragrance-free while Topbox is increasingly sending out perfume samples
* if you add them all up, that's 149 samples to go through - from just half of the year!!

- - - - -

it is not surprising that these companies feature products from the same brand more than once (most common were the 3 Sebastian hair products from Glossybox and 4 CyberDERM products from Glymm). the most prevalent brand across the board is B. Kamins - they have partnered with Glossybox, Topbox AND Loose Button - i now have a total of 6 B. Kamins samples. both BB5 and ipsy have been more exciting for me since they are both American and therefore allow me to try brands that i cannot get here.

- - - - - 

where the boxes come from:
* Topbox - Toronto, ON
* Glymm - Montreal, QC
* Glossybox - Mississauga, ON (with the except of December's box that was partnered with LOULOU magazine, which shipped from Winnipeg, MN)
* Beauty Box 5 - Austin, TX
* Loose Button - Mississauga, ON
* Ipsy - San Mateo, CA

all of the above use Canada Post (except for BB5 which uses USPS). ipsy uses Canada Post when it arrives at the border.

date the companies stated that they will ship boxes:
* Topbox - on the 10th
* Glymm - week of the 10th
* Glossybox - end of the month
* Beauty Box 5 - mid-month (15th)
* Loose Button - N/A but the Spring one should be mid-March
* Ipsy - 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

quick notes:
* Topbox and Glymm arrive around the same time (and now ipsy too). Glossybox and BB5 tend to arrive near the end of the month or early next month. as for Loose Button, i have no clue - they have not been consistent enough for me to even guess. 
* there is no tracking info prior to ipsy's Glam Bag arrival in Canada. for BB5,  it's reversed - i have no idea what happens to it after it leaves Austin, Texas. 
* BB5 is the only one that fits in my normal mailbox. the other ones require the larger compartments of my community mailbox. 
* the Winter Luxe Box was actually delivered to my door and my dad even had to sign for it.

- - - - -

i have some yeses, some maybes and some probably nots. i can never make up my mind! haha but i know that i am getting way too much stuff to even use and appreciate any of my older items so i have to cut back. 
i am confident that i am keeping ipsy and BB5. Topbox and Loose Button are maybes while Glymm and Glossybox are on the chopping block. i've been looking at my points for the latter two and will be using them up shortly. 

a summary through pictures:

Topbox (July to December 2012):

Glymm (July to December 2012):

Glossybox (July to December 2012):

Beauty Box 5 (July to December 2012):

Loose Button (August/Fall 2012; December/Winter 2012)

Ipsy (November to December 2012):

you can click on the "Beauty Boxes" tab at the very top if you'd like to read some reviews :)
what have you decided - are you dropping any subscriptions or picking up new ones? what factors greatly influence your decision? thanks so much for reading!


  1. Wow! That's a very comprehensive post! I personally have only subscribed to Topbox because I want to support a Canadian company but have been disappointed with their boxes lately. I'm giving myself a few months with them and if I'm still getting disappointing boxes I may have to cancel my subscription. I'm currently checking out Ipsy.

    1. haha phew! it was definitely a long one :)
      thanks for reading it victoria! let me know how you feel about the Prive box! did you pick one for Feb? seems like a lot of the people who got Benefit are really happy.

  2. Awesome post to read through since I definitley was debating on which other subscriptions to try out, thanks!

    1. glad i could help judith!! have you made up your mind? :)

    2. Ipsy and Topbox are the two that caught my eyes right now. I'm subscribed to Ipsy, and prob will be on the wait list for Topbox for awhile.

  3. oh my goodness this is a brilliant idea! thanks for putting this up!

  4. That was the best sub box post ive ever read!!! youre amazing for doing this. Price and products are always the first thing on my mind and i think ipsy really does it best!

    1. awww thanks Steph!!!! i really appreciate your thoughtful comment hehe. price is definitely a major factor now that it seems to be on the increase for every company... crossing my fingers it won't happen for the other 2!
      i am also a big fan of ipsy!

  5. What an amazing review of the boxes...again! I pretty much feel the same way as you do with all the subs! I have let go of loose button although i'm still expecting Spring. I will be cancelling Glymm now that I did my survey...going to use my points.

    1. many thanks... again Aleks!!
      thanks for letting me the surveys are up!! i need to go use my points too

  6. OMG, good for you for still writing this up! And now there are more subs to write about!
    149 samples huh...why are we still subscribed to all of these??

    1. hahah thanks Jayne! it was a little delayed and took me forever again but i am glad i finished it.
      good question... 149... what a shockingly high number!

  7. Great job Helen! What would we do without you? ;) The Canadian sub boxes are looking pretty second class to the American ones. I've already cut Glossybox and will not be renewing glymm when my year is up. I'm always pretty happy with BB5, ipsy and Starlooks. I'm sticking with Topbox and keeping an eye on Luxebox.

    1. haha thanks for the compliment gen :)
      you are the queen of subs!! i am cutting GB asap! i just opened my January one and it was absolutely ridiculous!!
      Starlooks... ahh so tempting! ive heard so much about their products and customer service.

    2. For the $21 GB was asking for, Starlooks will give you full sized makeup items. And their customer service is phenomenal!


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

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