Are Sub Boxes Worthwhile?

I’m sure that we’ve all heard a lot about subscription boxes, whether good or bad, we all know what they are, and it seems like everyone has at least tried one out at some point. Unfortunately, recently all of the reviews I’ve seen surrounding sub boxes have been negative, as the receiver seems to be disappointed with the products included.

I managed to get May’s Birchbox to review, but today I’m also going to be weighing up whether or not I feel that subscription boxes are worthwhile.IMG_7760

May Birchbox

Products Included:

Spectrum Collection’s Unicorn Tears Wonder Sponge RRP £4.99

theBalm cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen RRP £10

Philip Kingsley PK Prep Polishing Balm RRP £18.50

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet RRP £23

Rituals Tao Wai Wang Mild Exfoliating Body Scrub RRP £19.50

IMG_7753

Wonder Sponge | The sponge is cruelty free, which is a great aspect, as I think that we are all gradually becoming aware of cruelty and non-cruelty free companies and products, and this is beginning to affect our buying habits. This sponge is just as easy to use as any other sponge or the famous beauty blender, and comes in roughly a pound cheaper. However I do think that this is a product that people either already have, or don’t have it because they prefer using brushes. It’s not necessarily a worthwhile product to ‘try out’ in a sub box. It is also, as Birchbox boast, a full size product, but it would be difficult to dispatch these sponges in smaller, tester size.

Stainiac | I was actually nicely surprised by this lip and cheek tint. The deep blood-red colour of the tube made me weary of trying it, as I thought it’d be far too pigmented, and perhaps sticky and uncomfortable on the face or lips. However when I did try it, it just added a light touch of a pink-red hue to the lips, and dried to the point that I couldn’t even feel it, not sticky or uncomfortable at all. I would probably look into repurchasing this if I wanted a tint.

However, this product showcases how I think sub boxes are misleading. The stated RRP for this product is £10, showcasing that you’re getting a great deal, as the box itself is £12.95. However that RRP is for the 0.3oz stain, and in the box, you get a 0.04oz product. This might sound confusing and like it doesn’t matter, but what it means is that you’re getting 1/12th of the product that is worth that £10. So technically, this product is worth 83p. Or you can get it free as a tester HERE.

Polishing Balm | As I’ve spoken about my love for them before, I was actually really excited to try this out. I was really impressed by the consistency of this product, it isn’t quite a balm, but it is similar in consistency to that of a conditioner. It distributes easily throughout the ends of the hair, and does leave it smelling delicious, while it also smooths down any flyaways and frizz.

However again, the impressive RRP of £18.50 is for the 75ml product, and you receive a 20ml product. So this tester is actually worth £4.93. Although this is again, misleading, I do still find almost £5 worth of product to be impressive.IMG_7755Moisturising Sorbet | It takes some time to work out what this product is for, as it explains that it’s a moisturising sorbet, but it doesn’t say where it is to be applied. Fortunately on the back of the product, underneath the French usage instructions, it says that it’s for the face and neck. It is a somewhat moisturising product, but I found it to be like applying cold water to your face, at first you feel moisturised, but then your face is just wet, not actually moisturised. It took a lot of working this product in for it to completely be absorbed into the skin. I did find that it left an incredibly light and flowery scent, but nothing overpowering at all.

This product is clearly the most expensive included in the box, an insane RRP of £23. I know, more boring maths coming your way, but please bear with me. The product that you receive is actually worth just under £6. Again, this is insane for a 10ml product, so it’s better to have it included in a sub box than it is for you to buy it alone, but I don’t think this is the type of product that anyone is going to fall so madly in love with, that when this tester is empty, they buy the £23 version.

Body Scrub | As I’ve spoken about Rituals recently, you can see my review of their hand cream HERE, you know that I love everything about their products, so when I saw that this body scrub was included in the box, I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously I loved this product, and am impressed to say that you can get 2 uses out of this sized product. I also think that this particular size is good for a tester, as it gives you a good sense of whether or not you want to repurchase the full £19.50 tub version at 325ml.


Ultimately I think that sub boxes are a really good idea, you get to try out new products each month, and you don’t have to shop around for them. However I do think that people can be mislead into think that they are getting more than the box is actually worth, for example, if you took the RRPs as gospel for this Birchbox, you’d think you’re getting £76 worth of products, when in fact you get £19.83. (Assuming you paid for the lip and cheek tint, and didn’t get it free as you can elsewhere.)

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m obviously not just talking about Birchbox here, this is true of all sub boxes. I’m not dismissing the fact that the company need to make a profit, while still paying some companies to feature their products, but I do feel that sub boxes need to be more inventive with what they include. I’ve seen many people complain about receiving toothpaste and clear nail polishes. To me, the key to a good sub box is, getting to try products that you either don’t already have, or wouldn’t buy yourself, either because it’s slightly more luxurious, or a brand you haven’t heard of.

I also am aware that you pay £12.95 a month for these boxes, so even if it is worth £19, you’re still up by £6. But to me, I think that the prices of sub boxes can come down drastically and perhaps feature less, but full sized products. Or the prices can be increased slightly, but you’re guaranteed full sized products, and you can input preferences. (i.e. no toothpastes)


Thank you so much for reading this post, it really means a lot to me as I know it’s really long, but this felt important to me. Also don’t forget that I am daily blogging for this entire month, and you have a brand new podcast series that starts THIS FRIDAY!

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