Back in 2015, I used to get multiple beauty subscription boxes that would give me samples to try so that I could find my favorite
Allure Beauty Box vs. Birchbox
There are all kinds of beauty boxes available, for every kind of customer. Allure Beauty Box is aimed at savvy beauty shoppers, and this box lets you get 3 or more full-size products each month at a steep discount. Birchbox is a beauty box that’s best for people who are just starting to learn about beauty, and each box comes with 5 samples.
Allure Beauty Box comes with 6 or more products each month, and it’s curated by the Allure editors. There’s no personalization available, but each box is worth $100 or more. Birchbox doesn’t offer the same kind of value, but it’s a more affordable option and the sample selections are catered to your specific beauty profile.
Allure Beauty Box is a monthly subscription associated with Allure Magazine, and all the products are chosen by editors. You can count on their expert curation to include luxury brands along with up-and-coming new brands. Unfortunately, there’s no option to get boxes customized to your preferences.
Allure boxes come with at least 6 items each month, and 3 or more items are full-size products. Sometimes Allure Beauty Box includes brushes or masks for your face and eyes, but these are never counted as full-size items. The rest are deluxe samples that give you plenty of product to try, so you can decide whether you like it or not.
Each box is worth at least $100, and new members get a free gift or two. Often the boxes are worth much more than the minimum, and they come with luxury products that can be fairly pricey.
These boxes come with skincare products, makeup, and hair products. You can get face creams fortified with beneficial ingredients like vitamin C, serums, false lashes, lipsticks, eyeshadows, and more.
Birchbox is a monthly subscription that offers 5-6 beauty samples each month, with the occasional full-size item.
Birchbox is known for creating custom boxes for subscribers each month. They’ll ask you to fill out a beauty quiz that asks about your makeup style, skin and hair type, and more. With that information, they’ll put together a box that should suit your lifestyle and preferences. This makes Birchbox an excellent choice for anyone who’s new to beauty and wants to learn more about product types and brands.
If you don’t want a personalized box, you can opt for a pre-curated box instead. Your two options each month are a clean beauty box or a box curated by Katia, the company’s CEO.
Each box comes with a helpful info card that shows details about the products in your box, from key ingredients to how to use them. I find these cards really helpful, and they show me what to expect from each product.
- 3+ full-size items
- Curated by experts
- Worth $100+, often more
Each Allure Beauty Box comes with at least 3 full-size items. Their FAQ notes that they’ll never count makeup brushes or face masks toward this count, which I appreciate! It’s just not the same getting a makeup brush when you’re expecting a beauty product.
Allure boxes are curated by the magazine’s editors, and they often choose items that reflect trends or highlight new brands you may not have heard of. As a beauty magazine, they’re able to provide a great selection of products.
These boxes are worth at least $100, but most of them clear that minimum easily. This is one of the best value boxes for its price point of $23.
- No personalization options
- Some boxes include “mass brands” that aren’t as exciting
These Allure boxes may be curated by beauty editors, but not all products may work for your skin or style preferences. Subscribers don’t get any choice over what comes in the boxes, so you just need to trust the curators. This isn’t the best box if you want more control over your boxes.
Allure mentions that some boxes will include samples of “mass brands,” or brands found at grocery stores and pharmacies. Some of their boxes include samples of these brands, too. It’s sometimes disappointing to get these products because they’re affordable and readily available. Most of us like subscription boxes because they introduce us to high-end brands that would normally be a splurge item, instead of the brands we already know.
- Customized to your preferences
- High-end brands and products
- Option between customized box or a pre-curated box
One of the best things about Birchbox is that you can get boxes of samples that are chosen to fit your unique needs. Their thorough beauty quiz will highlight your style and the kind of skin and hair you have. The samples will address your main skin concerns and flatter your skin and hair color.
Birchbox offers samples of expensive brands and products. If you haven’t tried many of them before, this is a great way to sample them before you commit to spending money on a full product.
Birchbox is designed to be affordable and easy to use, so that busy people can learn about beauty. You don’t need to spend a lot of money every month to get samples handpicked for your needs.
You aren’t limited to the customized boxes with Birchbox. You can also choose to get one of the two curated boxes available each month. Each month, there’s a Clean Beauty box made up entirely of products that prioritize natural ingredients
- Small sample sizes
- Some repeat items
Birchbox sometimes comes with tiny samples, and it can be disappointing to get such small items for the month. Many of them are from expensive brands, so the samples are smaller because of how much they’re worth.
Birchbox will sometimes send a repeat item. They learn more about your preferences as you review products and buy full-size items, and that might prompt them to send you the same item again so you can give it a second chance. If you’re unsatisfied with any repeat items, you can contact customer service about it.
Birchbox is the best budget option, but if you’re looking for overall value, Allure is the better choice.
The Allure beauty subscription is $23 per box on a monthly basis. You can also sign up for longer subscriptions to save some money.
If you subscribe for 3 months at a time, you’ll pay $65 up front and save a total of $4 as compared to the monthly subscription. You can also sign up for a year-long subscription for $250 up front, and save $26 total. Both of these options come with a free bundle box.
Each box is worth at least $100, but they’re often worth much more. The December 2020 box had a value of over $165.
Birchbox costs $15 month-to-month, meaning each sample costs about $3.
You can save a bit of money by committing to a longer subscription. If you sign up for 6 months, you’ll get each box for $14 instead. An annual subscription costs $13 per box. Both of these are paid on a monthly basis, so there’s no large fee up front.
Birchbox doesn’t have a guaranteed value each month, but you can expect your box to be worth around $40 or more.
Allure Magazine’s beauty editors choose the products for each Allure Beauty Box. That means you can expect to find trendy products each month, usually with a seasonal slant. Every subscriber gets the same box each month, without variations.
Each box will usually include a mix of exciting indie brands and established luxury brands, so customers can keep up with different parts of the beauty world. They also make a distinction between these brands and “mass brands,” like Cerave, that you can find at any drugstore or department store.
Allure boxes usually contain a combination between well-known brands and new, up-and-coming brands. There’s also some variety in product type. Most boxes include makeup and skincare, but you can also find hair care.
Birchbox has partnerships with a lot of different brands, but there are a few that tend to show up more often than others. They include a lot of beauty box favorites that you’ll see in other boxes, like Sunday Riley, Briogeo, Oribe, R+Co, and more.
They tend to highlight high-end brands you won’t find anywhere besides specialized beauty stores. If you’re far from any physical beauty store locations, this might be an affordable way for you to try samples.
Birchbox has two of their own beauty brands now. The first brand is Love of Color, which is a line of colorful cosmetics from lip products to eyeshadows. The second is ARROW, a skincare line with innovative products like spray-on oil cleanser.
Allure Beauty Box is at a higher price point than Birchbox, but it also has a better comparable value. For $23 per box, you get at least 3 full-size products, along with deluxe samples. Allure offers plenty of luxury brands and new indie brands. Each box is worth at least $100, and they’re all curated by the expert editors from Allure magazine.
Birchbox is only $15 per box, which makes it the most affordable choice. You’ll get a fun selection of samples in each box, but most of them won’t last very long. It’s a better choice for people who want to learn about beauty, though. This subscription box is a low-stakes, less expensive way to play around with new products and get more familiar with what your skin wants and needs. You can figure out what kind of lipstick you like to wear, or what kind of moisturizer is most hydrating.
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