30 May 2012

Glossybox: Six Boxes Later

Just over a year ago, I started reading about beauty subscription services such as Birchbox on various US blogs, but when their UK equivalents started popping up, I held back for a while, partly because £12.95 per month feels like a lot more of a commitment than $10. When the now-defunct Carmine launched towards the end of 2011, however, they offered the option of buying a single box--the element of surprise was removed but I knew that the products I was getting were worth the £8 I paid (with a discount). In fact, the Balance Me hand cream, Trind nail repair and Frat Boy blush from The Balm are all among my favourite products I've received from any beauty box. In the end, though, persuaded by a discount code, Glossybox was the service I picked. When I signed up, I said I would evaluate the service for six months and then decide whether or not to continue. Here are my individual reviews of the boxes I've received so far.

First, on the positive side, I love getting a package in the post tray at work each month and it's great finding out what products each box contains. For this reason, I don't mind so much if the products in a particular box aren't a) to my taste or b) worth much more than £12.95. But on the other hand, £12.95 per month is £155.40 per year, which is a sum of money I could probably put to better use buying beauty products--or other things--I really want, rather than the lucky dip of Glossybox. Another issue is that my cupboards are overflowing with beauty samples. I try to give away the ones that aren't suitable or that I don't like, but others I keep because I know I will use them eventually or because they could be good for travel. Glossybox does seem to favour certain products, such as facial moisturisers, body creams and shower gels, so these samples are queuing up on my shelves waiting for my attention.

Next, I have picked out my ten favourite products, to show the distribution of my top products across the boxes (indigo products are in the top five, lilac in the top ten). My first box, the December 2011 box, has a disproportionate number of favourites, but otherwise, most months yield one or two items I really like.

  • Cargo lip gloss (December 2011 - Christmas)
  • Murad skin-perfecting primer (January 2012 - Valentine's Day)
  • Coco Shambhala shower gel (February 2012 - London Fashion Week)
  • Burberry Lip Mist (March 2012 - Harrods)
  • Inika eyeliner (April 2012 - natural beauty)
  • Deborah Lippmann nail varnish (December 2011)
  • Rituals foaming shower gel (December 2011)
  • Blink+go make-up compact (December 2011)
  • Burt's Bees milk and honey body lotion (April 2012)
  • Uniq One hair treatment (May 2012)
My favourite products tend to be make-up items; this might not be obvious from the list because most months Glossybox includes at most one make-up item (if you count false lashes and nails, which I don't). I wish they included more make-up because it's more fun to try out new make-up than yet another shower gel or body lotion. Some of the anti-ageing skincare products are a little more exotic but almost all of the skincare items I have received have been inappropriate for my skin type. Another point of interest for me is that my initial rating of each box hasn't always panned out in terms of how many products I used--I gave the April box 2/5, for example, but it had two top-ten products and another item I really liked.

On balance, I should probably unsubscribe, but there is one more factor: GlossyDots. You can collect Glossybox for reviewing products (up to 100 per box) and getting friends to sign up; I also received some points for signing up to the e-newsletter. When you get 1000 points, you receive a free Glossybox and I have 800 right now. The trouble is that you are billed in the first week of the month, receive the box in the last week and tend not to get your points until the end of the next month. As I'm so close to the free box, I feel like I should keep going--at the end of June, I'll get the points from this month's box, and then at the end of July, I'll be up to 1000. By then I'll already have been billed for the July box, so my free box--and in all likelihood, my last box--will come in August.

I've really enjoyed receiving Glossyboxes for the past few months and although none of them has been as good as my first box (you always remember your first Glossybox...), it's always been fun finding out what I've got each month and testing out products I wouldn't normally have tried. My boxes have always come early on in the expected delivery period and I've never had any customer service issues. If I used beauty products more quickly, I would probably continue to subscribe but for me, nine months will be enough. I'll just have to do more of my shopping online so that I do occasionally receive exciting parcels at work.

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