A Mini Guide To: UK Subscription Boxes

The UK Subscription Box industry is booming. To help you decide which subscription box is best for you, I tried three different monthly beauty box services out.

  1. Birchbox

My first impression was that the box was really cute and absolutely packed! I ordered during October so I got a promotional second box from a previous month (in my case it was from August). I loved the products so much that I ordered again in November.

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In the October box I received a full size ecotools “contour perfecting applicator”. It’s a sponge worth £5 and can be used for cream or powder. While I personally prefer brushes for contouring, I welcomed the opportunity to try something new! I also received a sample size ModelCo “MEGALASH Mascara”. The full size RRPs at £16. I absolutely loved it, it really fanned out my lashes. Also included in the box was a sample size Balance Me “Pure Skin Face Wash” (full size RRP £16), a sample Number 4 “Super Comb Prep and Protect” hair spray (full size RRP £26.25), and a full size Anatomicals “Grab Your Melons” shower gel (RRP £1.50). The shower gel smelled absolutely incredible, I loved it! As October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, the box featured the shower gel and a CoppaFeel shower sticker as a reminder to check your breasts regularly. I was really impressed by the collaboration between CoppaFeel and Birchbox, they raised the profile of breast cancer awareness while also providing a practical product that fit with the contents of regular Birchboxes.

For my bonus August box, I received a mermaid themed box which contained a full size Spectrum Collections’ A05 brush (RRP from £59.99 for a set). It has quickly become a staple in my makeup collection as it is a perfect shape for contouring, the bristles are super soft, and there hasn’t been any fall out yet. Also included was a full size LOC “One and Done Shadow Stick” in the shade “Rock Steady” (RRP £8), a sample size Oribe “Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray” (full size RRP £20), and a full size Merci Handy antibacterial hand gel (RRP £2.90). I normally avoid hand sanitiser as I hate the smell but I really love the smell of this one, and it’s the perfect size to throw into a handbag. The final item in the box was a sample size Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion (RRP £4.19). It feels amazing on the skin and leaves it moisturised for hours afterwards.

As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed both Birchboxes so much that I ordered again in November. The November box was in collaboration with Vogue, and subscribers had the choice of two different box designs. Inside was a sample size Benefit “Hoola” (full size RRP £24.50), a sample size Percy & Reed “Smooth, Sealed & Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil” to nourish your hair, and a sample size Klorane “Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk” (full size RRP £8). The full size items for November were a Seche Vite “Dry Fast Top Coat” nail varnish (RRP £9), and a Birchbox Brush Cleaner (RRP £5) to keep your makeup brushes squeaky clean! I love my own brush cleaner, and I’ll be passing this one along to a friend so they can clean their makeup brushes easily and thoroughly.

The actual boxes Birchbox send out are a great size, and I’m now using them to organise and store stationary and makeup. Conclusion? I think Birchbox is great value for money and I love the range of products you receive every month.

 2. Glossybox

My first impression of the box was that it was really well presented. Inside the box, the contents are wrapped in pink tissue paper and seal with a ribbon. However, when I opened the box I genuinely thought “is that it?”. The box contained a LOT of packaging, and it was actually very disappointing to open.

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Inside the box was a a 100ml travel size Greenfrog Botanic “Natural Bodywash” in “Relaxing Geranium & Peppermint”. It smells absolutely incredible! The RRP is £8.95. There was also a Beauty UK Cosmetics contour/powder brush (RRP £6.99), which is fantastic quality, and a Sportfix “Candy Floss Moisturising Lip Balm” (RRP £4.99). It’s super soft and smells great, with only a slight pink tint once its on the lips. Also included was a Boots “Charcoal and Willow Bark Sheet Mask” (RRP £2.50) which is no-mess and purifies the skin. The final item in the box was a Collection Cosmetics “Define & Perfect Eyebrow Powder” in the shade “Brunette” (RRP £4.19). I was incredibly disappointed in the brow powder stick. I felt nothing really transferred onto my brows, and it was dry and uncomfortable to use.

After my initial impression being one of disappointment, on balance the contents of the box were worth the money. All the products bar the bodywash were full size, and I really liked the lip balm and contour brush.

3. Pink Parcel

My first impression of the Pink Parcel box was that it was jam packed. The brand is a period subscription box, and you can choose when it is delivered to match up with your cycle. It’s a very welcome treat for those who are menstruating!

With Pink Parcel you can choose your preferred brand of sanitary products, and then there are enough included to last you your entire period. There’s a handy pouch to carry sanitary pads with you, then there is a box filled with (in my case) pads for later in your period, and another box for night time. Then there is a box filled with goodies!

Inside the box was a T+ teabag for green tee with added vitamins. It’s an energising blend, and the RRP for 15 tea bags is £3.69. There is also a Raw Halo chocolate bar, which is suitable for vegans. I personally cannot stand dark chocolate but it’s meant to be really good for people on their period, and my friend assured me it was really yummy! Also included was a Blank Canvas face brush (RRP £14.81), which can be used with wet or dry products, and a Triple Cosmetics “Lip Parfait” (RRP £15). Unfortunately the colour I received was a very pale, chalky pink which did not suit me at all so it immediately went in the bin. There was also a Urban Veda facial wash (RRP £12.99), a MUA “Luxe Whipped Velvet Blush” (RRP £3.00), and a Cougar mineral eyeshadow (RRP £12.99 for a full palette). The colour I got was a lovely copper shade and was really long lasting! I really enjoyed using it.

I ordered my box during October, which was Breast Cancer Awareness month. Similar to the Birchbox approach, Pink Parcel included a helpful leaflet to advise on how to check your breasts and warning signs you should look for.

 

My overall favourite subscription box was Birchbox, as I loved the variety in the boxes. However, I also loved the handiness of Pink Parcel, and it was really pampering. The products in Glossybox were really good quality but it was slightly disappointing to open a box that was mainly packaging.

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