Subscription box alternatives

There are all kinds of monthly subscription boxes you can choose from these days.  It seems as though this is all the rage. Just go to YouTube and you will find countless unboxing videos and sneak peaks.  So, are these subscriptions worth the money? My answer is yes and no. Here are my thoughts on the makeup subscriptions (those are the ones I have tried).  


The pros to these monthly makeup boxes is that you are given an opportunity to try samples or full sized items at a lower price.  Most of these boxes feature high quality products. When you are purchasing high end makeup and skin care, it can get quite expensive.  This is especially true if you are unsure if the product will work suit your needs. The last thing you want to do is spend 50 dollars on something and it not work for you.  


The older we get, the more issues arise with our skin concerns.  These samples can help us determine if we are allergic to something or not.  Believe me, this will eventually be a problem for you if it is not now. I had no allergies to anything in life until I began perimenopause.


It is always nice getting a little surprise each month.  The boxes are like opening a present. The cost is not too pricey, either.  Most boxes will run you anywhere from 10-50 per month. So, they do not break the bank unless you order too many.  


There are times you have actually wasted your money on these boxes.  They often contain similar items such as mascara and lipgloss. They may be different brands, you often get the same things.  


Although filling out your profile helps get you colors that mesh with your skin, you still get products that are not a perfect match.  


You end up accumulating quite a bit of products that you do not use.  This is especially true if you subscribe to more than one box. It seems as though this is a common theme.  You can easily become obsessed with all the little surprises. Before you know it, you end up spending more money than you wanted.  


These boxes do not typically gear themselves toward a specific age range either.  There are a lot of products that contain glitter and items that do not look well on most middle aged women. As we age, I think it is equally important to find products that work and stick with them.  Allergies and other issues arise as we get older. The boxes often have a multitude of different products. When I was getting mine, I never had to buy skin care because I always had a sample to use. Because of this, you never get the full effect of what works for you as you are constantly switching.  When we buy things that reduce lines and wrinkles, it often takes weeks to see if it is effective or not. It also can take a few days to find you are allergic to something.

My subscription experience

I have tried Glossybox, Boxycharm, and Beautyfix.  All three of these had subscriptions that were roughly 30 per month with tax.

Glossybox offered both small and full sized samples of makeup and skincare. They came in nice packaging and I was pleased with the products given to me.  However, I did not feel that it was worth its value even though the retail value in the box exceeded the amount I was spending per month.


Boxycharm offered all full-sized samples of makeup and skincare. If I was to choose a box each month, this would be the one.  They always go above and beyond the price you are paying. I have found out about several products through this subscription. There are things in there I would have not normally tried without them sending it my way.  


Beautyfix offered decent sized samples that mostly contained extremely expensive product.  I am willing to spend extra money on skincare and makeup as I age. However, there is a cap to how much I am willing to spend.  I was getting samples of product I would never pay for. Therefore, there was no point in me even trying it out.



If I were to pick one box, it would be Boxycharm.  You get quite a bang for your buck and every dime spent is worth it.  


If you are going to do the boxes, I would limit it to just one or two subscriptions.  This way, you do not end up with too much product.


The product I did not like or use was given away as gifts.  There is always someone you know who could use it. They make great gifts if they are full sized product.  


Research the boxes before you get them and see which ones cater to your needs.  Keep in mind, a lot of samples you can get for free from the stores directly. A simple email will often get you some free product samples to try out.  Typically, you can find free samples when you make a purchase. Some stores charge only a dollar for samples. Samples are easy to obtain and the exact reason I stayed away from most of those 10 dollar subscription boxes.  With a little legwork, you can get those items for free or very little money.


Getting makeup without the subscription and on a budget

Think before you act (believe me, I fall trap too!) and devise I plan:

I decided to cancel all my subscription boxes and shoot for products and colors I know I like.   I was willing to invest 25 per week in products for my aging skin. This was a feasible amount that was not taking away from my family.  I also decided to cut some of my pop and snack intake in exchange. This gave me 100 dollars a month for “me” items.

Research and read before you purchase:

There are many skin care and makeup lines out there that are centered around middle aged women.  My two favorites are IT cosmetics and Mally.

Watch videos, read articles, look for reviews, and research a product before attempting to try it out.  Just because it looks good and is considered high end, does not mean that it is a good product. Know what you are getting into.  

Buy your items:

You can save the money each month and purchase your items or you can go on payment plans with places such as QVC.  QVC carries quite a bit of high end makeup. Both IT cosmetics and Mally are products sold by QVC. I chose the payment plan option and kept my purchases under 100 per month.  This gives me the option of choosing my colors and picking the product I am interested in. QVC payment plans vary and you just have to keep a watch on what they are offering each day to see which one works best for you.  

CoverFX is a company that has its own payment plan set up as well.  I do have a palette of theirs I enjoy. I have not tried any of their other products to know how well they work.  They are cruelty free which is a nice option.

You will eventually stop spending: Without the subscription cost each month, you will eventually spend less and less as you go.  Although I would love to have a house full of makeup, it is a silly idea. Once you get a build of what you need, you will not have to purchase anymore until that particular item is gone. You can then begin spending that extra money set aside on something else.  

Concluding thoughts

In my opinion, I like the budget option better than the subscription boxes.  I am picking and choosing colors that are right for me. If I want to try something, I simply write the company and ask for a sample.  Most of the time, they are more than happy to send you one. I now am to the point that I have enough makeup options. I am still working on skincare that works for me, so that is my next focus.  After that, I will have what I need for a while until it is time to replenish. I can use that “me” money on other things.