Recently, I was surprised with a complimentary box from Beauty Box 5, a subscription company that delivers 4-5 cosmetic samples to your mailbox each month, all for $12 (or $30 quarterly/ $99 annually).
I was really excited to test out Beauty Box 5 as I’ve been subscribing to Birchbox for over two years, and I love getting a little present in the mail every month! I’ve been thinking about subscribing to another company because I adore the idea so much, so this was an ideal test run.
First, my thoughts on the packaging: The Beauty Box 5 is significantly smaller than the Birchbox—about the size of a photograph. Once I sliced open the packing seal, I was expecting to pull out a separate box, but the outer box also held all the samples, which were packed in with some shredded paper filler. I really didn’t like the packaging at all—the crinkled filler paper spilled everywhere as I took out products, and I didn’t have a place to keep all the samples once I threw out the box.
Now onto the goods!
Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow in Birthday Suit ($14)
I was most excited about the eyeshadow, which happened to be full-size! Unfortunately, the color was absolutely awful. It’s a matte beige that had zero color payoff. Perhaps someone with deeper skin tones would be able to use this as a base, but it completely disappeared on my skin. For $14, I’d expect a lot more pigment and staying power from an eyeshadow. In comparison, MAC eyeshadows are roughly the same size and just a dollar more, but have pigment worth the price.
Nubar Nail Lacquer in Nubar Red ($8)
Super cute vibrant red polish. It was opaque with two coats, the formula dried quickly on the nail, and the dinky little brush actually applied the color really evenly. Its small size but good grippy brush/cap made me think this would be perfect for travel or touch-ups on the go. Gotta keep those red manis pristine, of course..
Swissco Nail File ($1.50)
Ahhh, glitter! I mean, you can never have too many nail files. Add glitter? I’m a happy girl. As far as foam-and-cardboard nail files go, this guy is unremarkable, but I did think that including a nail file alongside the nail polish was a super cute (and appreciated) touch. Mani in a box!
H2O Plus Aquafirm + Micro-Collagen Moisturizer ($50 for full size)
Yowza, a $50 moisturizer! I’m a huge skincare nerd with very dry skin, so a new moisturizer is something I’m always excited to try. This one seemed to have a lot of technologies and ingredients I wasn’t familiar with—specifically the “marine microspheres” that are supposed to firm and tone the skin on contact. I didn’t notice any change in my skin once I slathered some of this on, though. In fact, I think it emphasized a couple of dry patches, and it had an odd slightly chemical-y smell I wasn’t into. For $50, I’d definitely pass on this one. But maybe it would work on someone with more combination skin!
Bask Heavenly Silk Daily Lotion ($19.98 for full size)
Ugh. When I first opened my box I noticed an odd sweet smell and an oily film on most of the products… because this was open. The sample was a good size, so there was a lot to leak/melt everywhere. The sample cap isn’t one that you’d expect to leak—one of those where you push down and the other side pops up for you to squeeze product out. Because it takes a deliberate press-down, it seems to me like someone just forgot to snap the lid down before popping it into the box- an oversight that resulted in a big mess. I had to throw this out without even testing it; lotion was everywhere!
OVERALL: I wasn’t really impressed by the Beauty Box 5. The products were mostly disappointing, and certainly nothing special. For $12, I expect higher quality products, better packaging, and a keener attention to detail. Box aside, Beauty Box 5 doesn’t seem to offer any sort of rewards program. If you decide you want to buy a product, you’re linked to the brand’s site to purchase directly from them. Personally, I love Birchbox’s “review for points” system where you earn credits to use on any of the hundred’s of products in the shop. It’s like a return on your monthly subscription fee, which adds a lot of value to the program as a whole. Given the samples included in my Beauty Box 5, the $12 monthly cost, and the lack of any sort of perk program, I can’t say I would purchase a subscription, or recommend Beauty Box 5 to a friend.
Do you subscribe to Beauty Box 5 or any other subscription sampling service? If so, I’d love to hear what you think! Did I just have an unimpressive box?
Disclosure: I received the product reviewed in this post free of charge. The decision to write this review and the opinions expressed are my own.