Skincare is an increasingly popular category of beauty product, and it can also be one of the most expensive. New skincare trends emerge all the time, and it’s hard to keep up if you’re not constantly reading articles on the subject. Skincare subscription boxes can help you keep up with new products and new discoveries, and you’ll usually get big discounts on products, too. Here are some of the best boxes for trying new skincare products and getting great deals.
The bimonthly TestTube subscription from NewBeauty magazine is my favorite skincare subscription box. It includes popular, effective brands and each Tube comes with over $150 worth of products. At $29.99, it’s a great deal, and the products are curated by knowledgeable beauty editors. I recommend this as the best way to keep up with popular new products and get some full-size items on a regular basis, too.
TestTube is a subscription box from NewBeauty magazine, and it’s available every other month. The products come in a cute tube-shaped package, and each package contains $150 or more in products. Some are worth more than $200, and they’re from trendy brands like Dr. Brandt and Dr. Dennis Gross. This subscription really stands out because of the product curation and the high value.
TestTube is $29.99 per box, not including shipping.
- Quality products and brands
- Great value
- Curated by the magazine’s editors
- Detailed booklet in each box
TestTube boxes often come with exciting, cutting-edge products. For example, their September 2020 tube came with a microneedling kit, complete with a bone marrow serum. During the pandemic, they featured a few different hand sanitizers and immune-boosting vitamins.
Each box is only $29.99, but there’s a guaranteed value of $150 or more. You can look through their past Tubes and see that most of them are over $200 in worth, and a few have even hit $300. This is a really great value.
TestTube is curated by the editors of NewBeauty magazine. They tend to feature products that have quality ingredients and might appeal to beauty fans. As editors, they’re well aware of current trends, and you can learn about them through this subscription.
TestTube orders all come with a little booklet describing how to use the items, key ingredients, expert opinions, and editors’ thoughts. Most pages also include a discount code for the featured brands, as a bonus.
- Only every other month
- Lots of samples
This is a bimonthly subscription, so you’ll only be getting it every other month. If you want more frequent product deliveries, try another box.
These boxes come with a few full-size items, but you’ll also get some sample products. If you absolutely hate samples, you might want to stick to a box that only does full-size products.
Where to buy it: New Beauty
BeautyFIX is a subscription box from Dermstore, a skincare company that sells lots of specialized, high-quality skincare products. BeautyFix is a monthly subscription that comes with a variety of deluxe samples and at least one full-size item. Each box comes with 6 or more items total, so you get to try a variety of brands and product types.
BeautyFIX is $24.95 per box for monthly subscribers, and for everyone else it’s $34.95.
- Quality items
- Full-sized items and large samples
- Lower price for monthly subscription.
BeautyFIX boxes usually feature high-quality skincare products. They include trendy, popular brands like Sunday Riley, Dr. Dennis Gross, and SkinCeuticals. Many of their products have undergone clinical trials and have real research backing them up.
BeautyFIX boxes come with one or more full-size products, and the samples included are usually deluxe sized samples. The items included are worth over $100 each month, so I think the subscription is worth the price.
BeautyFIX gives you the chance to either subscribe without automatic renewal, or save $10 and sign up for a monthly subscription. $10 is a great discount for subscribers, and you only have to pay for shipping on your first order. After that, shipping is free with your subscription.
- Mostly samples
- Some items are quite small
BeautyFIX boxes are mostly samples, even though they’re deluxe sized. This box won’t appeal to you if you’re looking for mostly full-size items, though.
Most BeautyFIX samples are generous, but occasionally they’ll include a single-use eye mask or sample with only a few uses inside. Those tiny products just aren’t as exciting to receive as larger items, and it’s hard to make a judgement on something after only using it a few times.
Where to buy it: Dermstore
Look Fantastic Beauty Box is a monthly subscription that sends 6 beauty products each month. These boxes are loosely curated around themes, and they come in cute, colorful packaging. Sometimes there are product variations between boxes, for lipstick colors and so on. These boxes include makeup and hair care along with skincare items. This is a great box for international items, especially ones from European brands.
Subscriptions start at $19 a month, but they go as low as $16 if you sign up for a longer period of time.
- International brands
- Themed boxes
- $60+ worth each month
Look Fantastic is a great box if you want to try brands from all over the world. The company is based in Britain, but they include lots of beauty products from European countries like France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. This is an easy way to try samples of beauty products that you might not hear about otherwise.
Each Look Fantastic box has a loose theme. The January 2021 theme is Restoration, and it’s all about self care and natural beauty. The box comes with lots of masks and moisturizing products to nourish your skin. Other themes are more abstract, like November’s Firecracker box, which mostly featured red and orange products.
Each box has a value of at least $60, so you’re getting at least three times your money’s worth. These boxes usually feature products with a high dollar value, so even if you’re getting small samples, they have a high overall worth.
- Not just skincare
- Slow international shipping
- Product replacements
Look Fantastic features a lot of makeup items in addition to skincare items. Though they do highlight some great skincare products, you’ll also be left with lipsticks and eyeliner samples most months.
This box ships from England, and the international shipping can sometimes be very slow. Things have been especially slow during the pandemic.
Look Fantastic boxes will often randomly replace featured items with a comparable product. For example, they might run out of the featured eyeliner product, so they’ll send a basic black eyeliner instead. I’m always disappointed when a company replaces items without telling me, and I’m not impressed with this practice.
Where to buy it: Look Fantastic
FaceTory Lux Plus is a quarterly subscription box available from FaceTory, a company that specializes in introducing a Western audience to Korean beauty. These boxes come with 5 or more full-size skincare products and a selection of sheet masks. Past boxes have included things like body lotion, toner, hand cream, scalp treatments, and more. Each box comes with one item from the FaceTory brand.
This box is $49.99 per box, and I think the price is very worth it.
- Korean skincare packaged for Western customers
- Helpful info booklet in each box
- Several full-size products and sheet masks
Korean beauty is really trendy right now, but it can be hard to decide where to start. This box helpfully guides you toward award-winning brands and products. If the products don’t have useful instructions in English, you can just refer to FaceTory’s website or the informational booklet in each box.
The informational booklets in FaceTory are almost like mini magazines, with suggestions on when to use your products, and how best to apply them. They also suggest how to incorporate them into your routine, like before a serum and moisturizer, or at the very end of your routine. You can also learn the key ingredients in each product.
This subscription box comes with 5 or more full-size products each month, and each one will last you months. There’s also a great selection of face masks in each box, and they’re the perfect way to pamper yourself after a long day. These boxes will keep you busy for a while.
- On the pricey side
- Only 4 times a year
FaceTory Lux Plus is $50, making it one of the more expensive options available. I think the amount of full-size products rather than samples justifies the price, but it might be harder to fit into your budget.
Lux Plus is only available quarterly, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a monthly treat. FaceTory does have a monthly sheet mask subscription option, so you can look into that option.
Where to buy it: Facetory
Beauty Heroes is a monthly subscription focused on clean beauty brands. Each box introduces subscribers to a new brand through a curated selection of products from that brand. Beauty Heroes has very high standards for clean beauty, and all products are tested and selected by the BH founder. Beauty Heroes is the perfect subscription box for clean beauty fanatics, or people who hate receiving samples. You’ll always get full-size products and deluxe samples from BH, instead of lots of little samples.
Each BH box is $58.99 on a month-to-month basis, but if you sign up for a longer subscription you can pay as little as $39.99 a month.
- Clean beauty only
- Hand-picked items
- Great value
Beauty Heroes has very strict standards for their featured products, and their list of harmful ingredients includes over 1,000 chemicals. They pride themselves on having the strictest standards in the beauty business. All their featured products are vegetarian, clean, and not tested on animals.
The founder of Beauty Heroes personally tests all beauty products that are considered for the BH subscription box. That means you’re getting a carefully curated selection, not just whatever products are most convenient to add to the box.
Each Beauty Heroes box comes with at least $100 worth of products, but some boxes contain $400+. It all depends on the brand being featured that month.
- Only 3 or so products each month
- More limited selection
Beauty Heroes doesn’t give you a big selection of products every month. They do curate high-value, unique products, but opening a box from Beauty Heroes isn’t as immediately impressive as other boxes with a larger selection.
Since there’s only one brand featured in each box, there’s not as much of a selection. Chances are, the products have some overlap, whether it’s a certain ingredient or packaging quirks. If there’s something that doesn’t work for you, you might not end up loving any of the items in your box.
Where to buy it: Beauty Heroes
NewBeauty magazine’s TestTube box is my favorite skincare subscription box. Each box has an incredible value, guaranteed to be over $150 but it’s often over $200. This subscription option gives you a few full-size items to use over the months, but it also comes with enough samples to keep things exciting. You’ll find currently trendy brands in your TestTube, so you can keep up with the beauty world. This box is well-curated and includes a nice mix of products, so you’re likely to find something you’ll love in each shipment.