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Top 3 Beauty Sampling Services

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beauty samples
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There’s nothing worse than spending $40 on a foundation only to discover it breaks you out, or splurging on a designer mascara before learning it clumps like crazy. Wasting money on products just plain sucks.

Thankfully, however, beauty sampling services are a great way to try products on a small scale. For $10 to $15 a month, you get deluxe-size beauty samples delivered right to your door. Not only do they help you discover which products work for you and which are duds, but they also introduce you to awesome products you may not have tried on your own!

Even though there are dozens of these beauty sampling services out there, they are all pretty similar — you go to their website and fill out a short quiz about your style and beauty habits, skin type, and/or beauty level of expertise. Then, if you decide to join, you will receive a monthly box of product samples tailored to your needs.

Although they are all similar, each service is unique in the products and brands they offer, as well as their price, so read on for my picks of the top 3 beauty sampling services, plus the pros and cons of each.

Birchbox

birchbox
Birchbox

What you get:

  • A monthly box filled with a varying number of beauty, grooming, and lifestyle samples from top and up-and-coming brands like NARS, Stila, and The Balm.

Is it a surprise?

  • Yes. You don’t know what products you will receive until you get your box (which is part of the fun!). But, if you fill out your profile on Birchbox’s website, your samples will be more tailored to your personal beauty and grooming needs.

Cost:

  • $10 per month for a monthly subscription or $110 per year for a yearly subscription.

Cancellation policy:

  • Monthly subscribers can cancel anytime with no cancellation fees, just make sure to cancel before the next monthly billing to avoid getting charged for a box you don’t want.
  • Yearly subscribers can only cancel during the first month of their subscription.

Rewards/perks:

  • Access to Birchbox.com, which features product info and tips, beauty expert interviews, tutorials, and more.
  • Birchbox Points — get 100 of them and you recieve $10 off a full-size product order in the Birchbox shop.
  • Love your samples? Buy the full-sized version through the Birchbox shop, which offers special discounts and promotions.

Other Factors to Consider:

  • There is an average wait time of 4 weeks for your subscription to be ready. After you request a subscription online, you will have to wait until you are emailed a link to purchase your subscription.
  • Birchbox also offers a Men’s Subscription.

Beauty Army

beauty-army-beauty-sample-service
Beauty Army

What you get:

  • A monthly box filled with up to 6 luxury beauty samples from well-known and emerging brands, all chosen by you.

Is it a surprise?

  • Nope! Beauty Army offers the luxury of choice so you know exactly what you are getting and paying for each month.

Cost:

  • A recurring fee of $12 per month or you can purchase an annual subscription for $132 per year.

Cancellation policy:

  • You can cancel anytime if you are paying month-to-month, just be sure to deactivate your subscription before your box for that month has been processed.
  • Yearly subscribers cannot cancel their subscription until their year is up.

Rewards/perks:

  • Fill our 5 brand surveys and receive 15% off in the Beauty Army shop.
  • Get 3 friends to join and receive a free month.
  • Receive $10 off a purchase of $50 or more in the Beauty Army shop for every 3 months you are a subscriber.
  • All samples you receive are available to purchase in the Beauty Army shop.

Other:

  • You have 5 days to pick your samples - after that, Beauty Army will pick for you based on your preferences from your profile survey.
  • If you don’t like your options for the month, you can easily skip that month without cancelling your subscription or getting samples you don’t want.

Beauty Box 5

beauty-box-5
Beauty Box 5

What you get:

  • A monthly box filled with 4-5 samples of all things beauty, including a variety of makeup, fragrances, skin care, and more.

Is it a surprise?

  • Yes. However, if you fill out your Beauty Profile, Beauty Box 5 can better customize your samples.

Cost:

  • Beauty Box 5 offers three different plans: a monthly recurring fee of $12, a quarterly recurring fee of $30, or a yearly recurring fee of $100.

Cancellation policy:

  • You can cancel your subscription at any time. As usual, be sure to cancel your subscription before your next payment is processed if you no longer wish to receive a Beauty Box the following month.
  • If you cancel a quarterly or yearly membership, your subscription will terminate at the end of your subscription term. There are no partial refunds for canceling in the middle of a quarterly or yearly membership.

Rewards/perks:

  • Refer 5 friends and receive a free month.
  • Access to product tips and tricks on the Beauty Box 5 website.

Other:

  • Beauty Box 5 features a variety of natural and vegan products.

What do you think?

Are you subscribed to any of these beauty sampling services? Would you ever join these services? Have you tried any of these? If so, how did you like them? Which one did you like best? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted on on November 13, 2012 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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28 Responses to “Top 3 Beauty Sampling Services”

  1. 1
    November 13th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Hey

    Thanks for posting this, I was curious what the differences and perks were for each company. Just subscribed to Beauty Army for a year (definitely affordable for a grad student). Keep up the good work!

  2. 2
    November 13th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Wow, i had no idea they did this! Where have I been?! ;) thanks for the post!

  3. 3
    November 13th, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Hey I was just wondering how many products birchbox includes on average? It isn’t listed in the post above. I’m definitely looking for a good beauty monthly service and these seem pretty good.

  4. 4
    November 13th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I did Birthbox for about 3 mos. and I was really disappointed. I never received any makeup, but scents, a nail polish, a face cleanser, 2 reaallly reallly tiny (think the ones found in magazines) samples of bb cream. a apple pie bar (O.o). one of those weird new hair ties. Overall, bad choice for someone who wanted makeup.

  5. 5
    November 13th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    These are great. I had no clue these existed. Thanks!

  6. 6
    November 13th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I have heard of this before and I really want to try it – I love testing out new products. I also think that these make for a perfect Christmas gift too. Something you get delivered to your door every month – better than a magazine subscription that’s for sure!

  7. 7
    November 13th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I’m surprised you guys didn’t review the Michelle Phan one – I’ve always wanted to know if it was any good. I think she has two now and one of them ships to Canada now. I;m thinking of trying one of these beauty boxes out….

  8. 8
    November 13th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Just as an FYI, this month’s Allure magazine has an article about beauty sampling services, and included the listings from a recent box from each service as an example.

  9. 9
    November 13th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Awesome post! I’m dying to subscribe to Birchbox!

  10. 10
    November 13th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Shame none of them ship outside the US :(

  11. 11
    November 13th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    What a neat service! I had never heard of this before so thank you for covering it!

  12. 12
    November 13th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Great post! I love my Birchbox samples each month.

  13. 13
    November 13th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Like carol said, it’s a shame they don’t ship outside of the US. With that said, I might look into Michelle Phan’s beauty box option. I had no idea this service even existed until now!

  14. 14
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    disappointment of my birchbox now a days

  15. 15
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    If you guys want makeup you should subsrcibe to IPSY (MyGlam). I just got my second bag today and I’m very impressed.

    Each bag contains 2 full sized products (this month is nail polish and eyeliner) and they choose really good products that are well worth the $10. Plus it comes in a cute bag!

    I’ve been hearing negative things about Birchbox, like not so much makeup and sample packets that you can get for free in department stores (and I’ve seen a ton of granola bars?!) but I’ve also seen great boxes, I think that one is a little more hit and miss.

  16. 16
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Very surprised you didn’t put “IPSY”/”My Glam” on the list. I love my IPSY bags way more than when I got birchbox! You should check them out! I’m kind of obsessed with the November bag I just got in the mail!

  17. 17
    November 13th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    For those who are interested the Luxe Box by Loose Button is a fantastic Canadian equivalent of these. Like Birchbox you don’t get to choose specifically what goes in, but you also tailor it to your skin type/features etc. I think the price is about $13 CDN per month. I had to discontinue mine but I LOVED it and I’ll totally start getting them again once I’m making more money :)

  18. 18
    November 13th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I haven’t heard many good reviews about Birchbox, but I have heard good things about ipsy/glam bag.

  19. 19
    November 13th, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I’ve been subscribed to IPSY/myglam since it started last year. It’s good and has a variety of products, but these past few months, I haven’t been as satisfied with the products as I had been previously. Think I might cancel soon.

  20. 20
    November 13th, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    THIS IS SO COOL! I am so happy I saw this post. Really want to try this.

  21. 21
    November 14th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    My Birchbox is sometimes hit or miss, but mostly a ton of hits. I often receive full-sized products, like last month I got a huge tube of mascara! Even if it’s not exactly what I expected, the value of the box is always more than $10. It’s really great for someone who travels often.

  22. 22
    November 14th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Birchbox is the most legitimate of beauty subscription services, so if you’re thinking about trying some out I’d go with that one.

    DO NOT subscribe to MyGlam/IPSY. If not a scam, it is at the very least a terrible, shoddy service. There are dozens of Youtube videos about dissatisfaction with MyGlam/IPSY.

  23. 23
    November 14th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I use Ipsy/MyGlam. This is only my second month and so far I’m very satisfied with the products I’ve received thus far. For only $10 a month, you get 4-5 different products each month, some deluxe-sized and usually about 2 full sized products. If you’re curious, you can check out my post about October’s Glam Bag here: http://xo-chiisakute.blogspot.com/2012/10/october-glam-bag_14.html

  24. 24
    January 14th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    another site is beautybar.com for $15 a month.

  25. 25
    March 13th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Has anyone tried Kara’s Way?

  26. 26
    August 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 am

    962487 887252Significant other, this excellent website is fabolous, i merely adore it 307015

  27. 27
    February 1st, 2014 at 5:15 am

    I tried Birchbox and am NOT impressed. I used their service for two months. It was full of samples I can get for free from Sephora or Ultra.

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