Top 3 Beauty Sampling Services

The pros and cons of Birchbox, Beauty Box 5, and Beauty Army are reviewed, from cancellation policies to cost.
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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.

Pros and Cons of 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.


  • $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.


  • Access to, 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.

Pros and Cons of Beauty Army


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Pros and Cons of 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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!

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