Beauty subscription boxes are a popular way to get a steady supply of beauty products each month. Each subscription service has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best box really depends on what you’re looking for. Birchbox is the best box to try as you learn more about beauty, but BeautyFix has the best value and it focuses on skincare items.
BeautyFix is focused on skincare and hair care, but you won’t find many cosmetic items. Instead, you can expect to try high-end skincare items and hair products. Birchbox has more diverse offerings, and has fragrance, bath and body, hair care, and makeup in addition to skincare. BeautyFix is my personal favorite, and I recommend it to anyone who likes exploring the latest skincare items.
How Do They Work
BeautyFix is a monthly subscription box from Dermstore. The company specializes in quality skincare products, so you can expect their boxes to focus mostly on skincare, with hair products and the occasional makeup item.
Each box has 6 or more items, with at least one full-size product. The others are deluxe samples. I’ve found their sample sizes to be pretty large, and sometimes I’ve mistaken them for full products.
BeautyFix is curated by Dermstore experts each month to highlight a mix of reliable beauty staples, like moisturizers and cleansers. They also like to include some more unique products. For example, the December 2020 box came with a “plant-based dream patch” that you put on a venous area of your skin so you can absorb natural sleep aids. The patch has valerian, melatonin and hops, which are all proven to help people sleep. That’s a pretty unusual product, but it sounds like it’d be really exciting for anyone who deals with insomnia!
You can either subscribe to this box or buy a one-off box that doesn’t automatically sign you up for a subscription. The boxes cost $25 with a subscription, and $35 without one. The second option is great for people who hate having to remember to cancel subscriptions.
Birchbox is a monthly subscription catered to your unique beauty needs. As part of the signup process, you’ll need to take a beauty quiz to let them know what your makeup style is, your skin type, hair type, and more. You can also choose what beauty products you want to try, and they’ll avoid sending you categories you’re not interested in. They offer makeup, skincare, bath and body, hair care, and even fragrances.
If you don’t want a personalized box, they now offer two curated box options each month: clean beauty, or a box curated by the Birchbox CEO. It usually takes about a week after your order for your Birchbox to arrive. There’s a unique box design each month. They’re colorful and fun, which makes them great for reusing as gift boxes.
When your box arrives, it comes with a helpful info card that tells you how to use it, how much the full-size version costs, and other details. These info cards also let you know if there’s anything notable about a product or its brand, such as if it’s clean beauty, woman-owned, a bestseller, and so on.
Birchbox offers points to subscribers who review their products after trying them. 10 points are worth a dollar, and you can use these in the Birchbox shop for add-ons and full-size products. The add-ons change each month, and usually there’s a special discount for members. They ship free with your next Birchbox.
- High-end products
- $100+ per box
- 6 or more products
- Free samples
BeautyFix contains quality products from high-end brands, so this is a good way to try a variety of great skincare products. Many of them have gone through clinical trials and target specific skin issues. You might even learn about a new kind of product you’ve never tried before.
Each BeautyFix box contains at least $100 retail value, with at least one full-size item. The deluxe samples also give you a lot to work with. The worth is great for $25, and you can definitely build a robust skincare routine just with this subscription.
Every box has at least 6 products, which means you’ll get familiar with more brands and product types through BeautyFix. These boxes can help you figure out what you’re looking for in your ideal skincare products.
Every BeautyFix box comes with a free sample or two that doesn’t count as part of your subscription. These sample sizes will be pretty small, unlike the items that are officially part of the box. It’s still fun to get an extra sample with your order!
- No customization available
- Not all items may work for your skin
Each BeautyFix contains the same products. There’s no way to switch out a product for another, so some months you might end up with items you’re not especially excited about. The service recommends gifting those items if you’re not interested in them. If they happen to run out of anything guaranteed in the boxes, they’ll stop offering that month’s box until they can get more stock in.
Since the products are set, you may end up getting items that aren’t useful for your specific skin or hair. Most of the items are fairly general, like face washes and moisturizers, but even those can be aimed at certain skin types.
- Affordable price
- Customized to your unique profile
- Popular, trendy brands
- Choose a customized box, or a curated box
Lots of people like Birchbox because it’s an affordable monthly box. This box is especially geared toward people who are new to beauty, and those people might not want to spend a ton of money on beauty each month. Instead, you’ll get a reliable source of different products to try for a set cost each month. Birchbox even offers the occasional full-size product or beauty accessory.
Each month, you’ll get hair care, makeup, skincare, fragrances, or bath products in your box. You can prioritize certain any of these categories during your beauty survey, so Birchbox will know to send them to you. All products will be customized to suit your hair and skin types, as well as your product preferences.
Birchbox tends to feature trendy beauty brands and products. You may get a sample or two of items you’ve been hearing about and seeing on beauty blogs. If you want to keep up with beauty trends like CBD or facial mists for a low price, this is a good box to try.
Birchbox will customize a box for you, but you can also choose one of the month’s curated boxes. Each month, they put together a box full of clean beauty items. Clean beauty generally means products without mineral oil, parabens, sulfates, and other ingredients people may want to avoid. Your other choice is a box curated by the Birchbox CEO, Katia.
- Small sample sizes
- Occasional repeat items
Birchbox often has very small sample sizes with only a few uses worth of product. Some of their samples are deluxe, but most are not. This could be because they include a lot of pricey, high-end products, so a small amount is worth as much as a larger sample from a cheaper product.
Birchbox will send you the same sample more than once, and it’s part of their curation process. They’ll use your product reviews and purchase history to decide what to send you in the future, and they may want you to give a product a second chance. Not everyone likes getting repeat products, though. If you’re dissatisfied with a repeat, you can always contact their customer service center.
How Much Do They Cost
Birchbox costs less per box. BeautyFix has more value relative to the cost, though.
A subscription to BeautyFix is $24.95 per month. You’ll need to pay for shipping your first month, but after that shipping will be free. This is probably a way to discourage people from constantly subscribing and unsubscribing.
‘There’s also an option to sign up for a single box, without being signed up for an automatic renewal and billing. A single box is $34.95, $10 more than the usual price. I know some customers will appreciate the chance to avoid the automatic billing, though.
Each box is worth at least $100, and often ends up way above that mark.
Birchbox is at a more affordable price point than a lot of other boxes. These are $15 per box on a monthly basis.
If you want to sign up for a longer subscription, you can save some money. If you sign up for 6 months, you’ll be billed $14 per box each month. If you sign up for a full year, the boxes will cost $13 per month. These are billed on a monthly basis, so you can avoid a large sum up front. These are good gift options, too.
There’s no guaranteed worth for a Birchbox, but most boxes come out to over $40.
What Kind of Products Do You Get?
BeautyFix focuses on skincare brands, especially brands that aren’t easy to find outside of dermatology offices or spas. Birchbox carries hundreds of brands, from the high-end to up-and-coming indies.
BeautyFix’s parent company, Dermstore, promises to offer “professional-strength formulas from top skin care brands (otherwise only available at a dermatologist’s office)” and other products that can be difficult to find. This is one of the best boxes out there when it comes to skincare products.
Some of their brands are Obagi, Eminence Organic Skin Care, and Dr. Dennis Gross. Their new brands section includes The Beauty Chef, Olaplex, and HoliFrog.
Birchbox carries hundreds of brands, and you’re likely to recognize some of them. They carry plenty of trendy brands that are popular among subscription boxes, like R+Co, Sunday Riley, Brigeo, and more. These are all pricey brands you won’t usually find at a pharmacy or big box store like Target, so it’s nice to get samples before you buy the full version.
They even have a few of their own brands, including Love of Color, a makeup line, and ARROW, their skincare line. I’ve tried ARROW, and I liked their cleansing oil.
BeautyFix has a lot of value per box for only $25 a month, and it’s my choice out of these two boxes. This is one of the best beauty subscriptions available for anyone interested in skincare. There’s a focus on high-quality skincare items, from anti-aging facial serums to exfoliants. You’ll get full-size products and large samples of items that can really improve your skincare and hair care routine. This is my favorite out of these two boxes.
Birchbox is a good option if you’re still learning about beauty and your own preferences. You can try a wide variety of brands and types of products for only $15 a month, and the choices will be specifically catered to your needs. The company makes it easy to find and buy full-size versions of your samples each month.