No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a makeup subscription box for you. Whether you’re looking for a makeup box to gift to someone, clean beauty, or just the best value, you’ll find a box that fits your needs. From IPSY Glam Bag Plus to Kinder Beauty, there’s something for everyone. These are the best makeup subscription boxes for 2021, so read through for the best and worst things about each box.
When it comes to makeup boxes, having choices is always a huge bonus. Personal taste varies so much from person to person: some might want to rock a smoky eye and red lip, while others prefer to wear neutral colors. BoxyCharm is a makeup subscription that caters to your unique preferences, and you can further customize it by choosing one of your 5 full-size items every month. I recommend this box to anyone who wants a bigger makeup collection, because this box will definitely deliver on quality, relevant makeup.
BoxyCharm is a monthly subscription service for beauty products. There’s a wide range of possible products in each box, and they’re curated to your unique beauty profile. You can even choose one item per box, for further customization. Through this service, you’ll get 5 full-size items each month.
BoxyCharm is $25 a month, or as low as $22.92 for an annual subscription.
- 5 full-size items per box
- Choose 1 item each month
- Quality brands
Each box comes with 5 full-size items, which is a great deal for $25 a month. That’s the equivalent to paying $5 for each item, when most items are $15 and up. This box is a great way to form opinions on products, because you’ll have enough product to really see whether or not you like it.
With BoxyCharm, you can choose 1 item yourself each month. Your choices are limited by the available selection, but it’s nice to have some control over what goes in your box.
BoxyCharm always features quality brands. You’ll see trendy brands like Yensa and Hipdot, and some higher-end options like Murad, Elemis, and Grown Alchemist. All their products are chosen thoughtfully.
- Mostly makeup
- Waiting list to join the service
BoxyCharm definitely has a focus on makeup, rather than skincare, hair care, and other items. Makeup tends to be more hit-or-miss for most people than other products, since it’s all about personal taste.
When you first join BoxyCharm, you’ll be put on a waitlist. Most people end up waiting a month or two, but the amount of time varies depending on how many people want to join at the time.
Where to subscribe: BoxyCharm
This IPSY subscription is available monthly, and it comes with 5 full-size items. 2 of them are chosen according to your beauty profile with IPSY, and you get to choose the other 3 yourself. This is a great, discounted way to keep up with beauty brands and get a customized selection of items each month. I recommend this option to anyone who wants more control over what they get from their subscription boxes.
IPSY Glam Bag Plus is $25 a month.
- 5 full-size items
- Choose 3 items of your own
- Tailored to your beauty profile
Each Glam Bag Plus comes with 5 full beauty products, giving you more to work with. With a full-size item, you can really get a sense of the effect it has on you. Sometimes, you won’t see effects from a product, good or bad, until a few weeks of use.
Glam Bag Plus gives you plenty of control over your final bag selection, and you can choose over half your items. With this service, you can customize your bag every month for the best results.
The other 2 items in your IPSY Glam Bag Plus are customized to your beauty profile with IPSY. The algorithm will match you to the best, most flattering shades of a product, whether it’s a lipstick or a highlighter.
- Not a ton of variation between different bags
- You only get 2 days to select your choice options
- Items sell out quickly
- You may not love every item
The biggest drawback of Glam Bag Plus is that you’re mostly choosing between different color schemes. There are dozens of possible bag selections each month, but often IPSY just uses the algorithm to decide whether you should get an eyeshadow in gold or in pink. I wish they were a little more discerning about which product types to send, instead of just color variations.
IPSY has subscribers select their choice items on a schedule. You can see the options starting at 9 a.m. PST on the 2nd day of the month, every month. You have until the 3rd at 6 p.m. PST to make your selections. If this happens to be a busy few days for you, it’s easy to forget about this. IPSY does send an email reminder, but it could get lost in a sea of other promotion emails.
IPSY choice items sell out quickly, sometimes in the first few hours after choice items open up. It’s best to make your choices as early as possible, and maybe set a reminder. Otherwise, you could end up with a more limited selection.
IPSY’s algorithm chooses 2 out of 5 of your items, and those can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes the algorithm will match you with an item that doesn’t quite work for you. Make sure to leave reviews for your items, so they can avoid similar issues in the future.
Where to subscribe: IPSY Glam Bag Plus
This is IPSY’s newest subscription service and it’s the most luxurious option. Glam Bag X is available quarterly as an upgrade to your usual IPSY subscription. Through this subscription, you’ll get 7 or 8 products in each bag, curated by a different celebrity each time. This box has a uniquely high value up to $350, depending on which product variations you get. On top of the high value, you can choose 3 out 5 of the items that will go in your bag. This is an exciting new subscription option!
Glam Bag X is $55 per quarter, which is $43 on top of a Glam Bag subscription or $30 on top of a Glam Bag Plus subscription.
- Each bag is curated by a different celebrity
- 7-8 luxury products per bag
- Value up to $350
- 3 choice items
Glam Bag X is curated by a different celebrity every quarter. The first bag was curated by Patrick Ta, a famous makeup artist to celebrities. He has his own beauty line, and key products like brow wax and blush are featured in the February bag.
Glam Bag X comes with 7 to 8 products each month, and all are from high-quality lines like Pat McGrath and Huda Beauty. This bag has fewer items than its previous incarnation, Glam Bag Ultimate, but this bag aims to focus on quality items with higher value.
There’s no minimum value for this bag, and instead, there’s a value up to $350 for each bag. The total value depends on your choice items and the items curated for you, but you can expect around $300 in retail value.
Just like Glam Bag Plus, you get to choose 3 of your items here. You can choose these between the 2nd and 3rd of the month.
- Fewer choice items
- Upgrade from other IPSY bags
- Requires a current subscription
Glam Bag X has a more limited selection of choice items than Glam Bag Plus. There are around 7 options for each choice item, instead of the dozen or so you get to choose between for Glam Bag Plus.
Since this bag is an upgrade from the usual IPSY bag, you can’t get both Glam Bag X and your usual IPSY bag. You’ll have to choose one or the other.
To get Glam Bag X, you’ll need a current subscription to IPSY. That means you can’t sign up just for Glam Bag X, you’ll need to have a monthly IPSY subscription. You can get around this by pausing your usual subscription in the months between, but it’s a bit of a hassle.
Where to subscribe: IPSY Glam Bag X
Allure Beauty Box is associated with Allure magazine, and it’s curated by the editors. They choose their favorite products and highlight them in these beauty boxes. Each box comes with a mini-magazine with information about the products and the companies they’re from. You can expect a fresh selection of products from both new and established brands in these boxes. Allure Beauty Boxes come with 6 or more items, and 3 of those will be full-size.
Allure Beauty Box is $23 per month, or $250 for a full year.
- 3 full-size items per box
- Trendy items curated by magazine editors
- $100+ value
Allure boxes come with 3 or more full-size items in every box. They also note that they won’t include small products like sheet masks or single makeup brushes, to make sure you get your money’s worth. The other items in your box will be samples.
One of the great things about this box is that it’s curated by magazine editors with a lot of insight into the beauty industry and access to quality products. You’ll get to try some of their favorites through this box, and each one comes with a little booklet explaining how to use each product and the key ingredients.
There’s $100 or more retail value in every Allure Beauty Box, and often they’re worth a lot more than that. The February 2021 box has a retail value of about $250, depending on what product variations you get. You’ll get an incredible selection of products every month, and at a significant discount.
- No customization
- Inconvenient cancellation
Each Allure box is pre-curated, so every customer gets the exact same box. There might be some hits and misses with this box, since it’s not curated with any specific customer profile in mind. You can check out their previous boxes to get an idea of what to expect from them.
Allure doesn’t let you cancel your subscription online, so you’ll need to get in contact with customer service to do so. You can either call them or email custom service. If you want a faster response, I suggest calling instead of emailing.
Where to subscribe: Allure Beauty Box
GlossyBox is a makeup box best known for its gorgeous packaging and themed boxes. You’ll get 6 beauty items in each box, all organized around a theme like Retro or Aloha. The themes keep things interesting, and you’ll get products from all over the world. This is a great gift box, because of the packaging and the novelty of the products.
GlossyBox is $21 a month, but if you sign up for an annual subscription, you can get it for as little as $18 a box.
- Themed boxes
- $60+ value
- Great packaging
GlossyBox keeps things interesting by assembling each box around a theme. Some are more concrete, like Around the World of Beauty or Wild Thing, but others are themed around love or birthdays. February 2021 box has a fun retro theme.
You can expect at least $60 of value in each box, though there’s often more. There’s usually at least one full-size item, whether it’s a lipstick, a beauty accessory, or a lotion. You’re getting about 3 times what you paid, making this a great deal.
Fun packaging is one of the best parts of a subscription service, and it makes each box feel more like a special occasion. GlossyBox packaging is always a standout.
- Not much personalization
- Often includes low-value beauty tools
GlossyBox does ask you to fill out a survey on your beauty preferences, but that’s so they can learn about customer preferences. There aren’t many opportunities for customization, because each box only has around 10 item options. You’re not likely to get products specifically tailored to your hair type, skin tone, or skin type.
GlossyBox tends to include beauty sponges and makeup brushes with a low value. I think a lot of people don’t like getting those items, because they’re not as exciting as the other possibilities.
Where to subscribe: GlossyBox
Kinder Beauty is all about being kinder to animals, the world around you, and yourself. All the products featured in this box are vegan, not tested on animals, and free from harmful chemicals. The first beauty box they send will be their Kinder Beauty Box Faves Collection, which showcases their favorite items and beauty lines. If you have sensitive skin, you’re vegan, or you’re just looking for sustainable beauty items, this is the box for you.
These boxes are $25 a month, but you can get them for $23 each with a 6 month plan.
- Clean, vegan, and cruelty-free beauty products
- Brands handpicked by founders
- $75+ value each month
All Kinder Beauty items meet the company’s high standards, and the results are a collection of the best clean brands and products. It’s hard to do the research required to completely vet your beauty items before buying them, so why not let Kinder Beauty do the work for you?
Kinder Beauty was founded by actresses Daniela Monet and Evanna Lynch, and the two of them are passionate about clean, sustainable beauty. They test products themselves, and they feature the standout products in this box. They also prioritize brands that are plastic-free, or have otherwise eco-friendly packaging.
Each box is worth $75 or more, and the worth varies from month to month. You’re guaranteed to get at least 3 times your money’s worth every month. Aside from the monetary value, you’ll also learn about new brands every month and become more familiar with the thriving world of clean beauty.
- Mostly samples
- Box variations sent to subscribers at random
Kinder Beauty features mostly samples each month, so you might want to skip it if you don’t like product samples.
There are two variations on this box each month, and Kinder Beauty sends them out at random. I do wish they’d let customers choose which one they want, because that seems like an easy way to give people some control over what they receive.
Where to subscribe: Kinder Beauty
All of these boxes have their pros and cons, but overall, BoxyCharm stands out from the rest. You’ll get around $175 retail value in each box, with one choice item that you select yourself. The other products in your bag will also reflect your tastes, according to your beauty survey.
BoxyCharm always features quality products, and every month there are new possibilities for your beauty items. Since everything in this box is full-size, you’ll be able to really expand your beauty routine with the items you get from this subscription. If you’re tired of getting an endless stream of samples, this is the box for you.