Keeping up with the beauty world can take a lot of time and energy, but subscription boxes give you the chance to learn about beauty trends with a curated selection of products each month. GlossyBox and Birchbox both specialize in beauty samples, including makeup, skincare, and beauty tools. They both include 5 or 6 items each month, and GlossyBox always has at least one full-size product. With so many similarities, how can you choose which box to order?
Birchbox is more affordable, and each personalized box contains at least 5 samples. Most of their samples are from trendy and reliable brands, but some are quite small in size. Each GlossyBox also includes 5 beauty samples, but for $6 more per box, and the products are curated around a theme. GlossyBox has a better value overall, and their boxes include plenty of respected beauty brands.
How Do They Work
Birchbox is a customized beauty box, and each box arrives in a cardboard keepsake box with a unique design for the month. They’re sturdy and useful for storing your samples and other beauty products.
When you first sign up, you’ll need to take a beauty quiz. That quiz will let Birchbox know what your skin and hair types are, and what types of products you’d like to receive. You can even specify which categories you want to receive, like makeup, skincare, bath and body, and hair care. Birchbox won’t send you items from categories you’re not interested in.
Birchbox gives returning subscribers a choice each month. You can choose one of your sample products, or select a curated box. Each month, you can choose a clean beauty curated box, or a box curated by the company’s CEO, Katia.
This box specializes in regular and deluxe samples. Some of them are quite small, but others contain enough product to last for around a month. Sometimes you’ll find a full-size item in your box, but that won’t happen every month. Each Birchbox comes with at least 5 items, so you’re paying about $3 per sample.
After your box is shipped, you can log in to your account and see what’s coming in that month’s box. You can also see the full-size versions of your samples for the month, along with customer reviews.
The customer reviews are all from other Birchbox members, and you can see what other people have to say about how the product worked for them. Some people will mention their hair or skin type, which is helpful when you’re trying to see how it will work for you.
Each month, Birchbox sends out an email with lists of add-on products you can purchase to be shipped for free with your next box. Some of these items are discounted. With add-ons, you can skip shipping fees and give yourself something extra to look forward to along with your monthly box.
GlossyBox is a monthly beauty box featuring 5 or 6 beauty products each month. The total worth is at least $60 per box. They curate boxes around monthly themes, like coconut oil conditioner for the Hawaiian box. GlossyBox includes makeup, skincare, and hair care. What sets them apart is that they also often include beauty tools and accessories, like headbands, brushes, and face sponges.
GlossyBox includes an optional beauty profile step. If you’re in a hurry to place your order, you can skip it. These boxes aren’t guaranteed to be personalized. Their website says they may use your beauty profile to learn more about customer preferences or to decide what goes in your box, if there’s an option available that matches your profile.
The company is also known for their unique, gorgeous packaging that fits each month’s theme. For example, October’s box had stunning gold foil on it in a mystical, spooky design. December’s box was a festive gold and red perfect for the holidays. The wrapping makes these especially appealing as a gift option.
Boxes are filled with deluxe sample sizes, but each box includes at least one full-size product, too. Some boxes feature a special hero item that carries most of the box’s worth, like an eyeshadow palette or facial oil.
Each month, GlossyBox offers sneak peeks before the official box release. There’s some variation between each box, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get those items. Usually, there are around 6-10 possible products for each box.
- Customized selection
- Variety of products
- High-end brands
My favorite thing about Birchbox is that their boxes are customized according to your beauty quiz. In the beauty quiz, they’ll ask for your main skin concerns, your hair type, what products you want to receive, and more. You might not love every product Birchbox sends, but they’ll at least all be relevant to your interests.
Birchbox offers a wide variety of products, from familiar staples like eye creams to products you may not have tried, like plumping mists. You’re not likely to get more than one of an item type in the same box.
Birchbox is designed to help women learn more about beauty without needing to search out products themselves. Instead, this box matches subscribers to products that meet their unique needs. The company focuses on high-end brands with better results, so subscribers can try great products without shelling out tons of money or getting overwhelmed by all the options.
- Sample sizes are sometimes quite small
- No guaranteed monthly worth
- Occasional repeat products
The downside of Birchbox featuring luxury products is that the sample sizes tend to be small, especially when you’re looking at a very expensive product. When I tried Birchbox, they sent me a tiny 0.1 mL sample of a luxury CBD serum that costs $125 per ounce.
Many beauty boxes have a guarantee that you’ll get a certain worth in products each month, but Birchbox doesn’t make any promises. Their boxes are often worth around $40, which isn’t too bad for a $15 box.
Birchbox is known to send the occasional repeat product, and I wish they would find a solution to that issue. For the time being, you can contact customer service when this happens, and they’ll give you some extra Birchbox points to make up for the error.
- Gorgeous packaging
- One or more full-size item per box
- Worth at least $60 per month
GlossyBox is a great gift option because of the unique packaging. Each month has a different theme and design, and they’re so cute you might want to keep them.
GlossyBox mostly includes samples, but each month you’ll find at least one full-size product. Sometimes these full-size items are beauty tools like brushes. Other times there are lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, or cleansers.
Each GlossyBox will include at least $60 worth of products and at least one full-size product. They often include upwards of $80 in product, though. You can check their website to see how much the upcoming month’s box is worth.
- Box variations mean you can’t know exactly what to expect
- Often include beauty accessories
Each month, there are around 6-10 options that could go in your box. GlossyBox releases spoilers over the course of each month, but the items you see may not end up in your box. This subscription service keeps up the element of surprise.
GlossyBox includes beauty tools and accessories on a regular basis. These include items like sponges, headbands, and brushes. Some people might not like getting items like this instead of the more popular makeup or skincare items, though.
How Much Do They Cost?
These boxes are both at a lower price point under $25, but Birchbox is cheaper than GlossyBox.
Birchbox costs $15 per month, with free shipping. This option lets you opt out at any time.
You can also save money on each box if you sign up for a longer-term subscription. If you sign up for 6 months, you’ll pay $14 a box with monthly billing. If you get an annual subscription, each box is $13 with monthly billing. With these options, you’re locked in to your subscription until the end of the period you signed up for.
GlossyBox is the more expensive option here, at $21 for a monthly subscription with free shipping. You can commit to a year-long subscription for $18 a month, which saves you $36 over the year.
This box gives discounts if you commit to a longer subscription and pay up front, though. If you sign up for 3 months, you’ll pay $58.50 and save $4.50. With a 6 month subscription, you’ll pay $111 and save $15. An annual subscription paid up front gives the biggest savings: it’s $210, and saves you $42.
What Brands Do They Send?
Birchbox and GlossyBox send several brands each month, depending on what their beauty experts curate. You should get a variety of different brands and products through your subscription.
Birchbox is known for sending plenty of trendy brands, and there are some favorites they return to often. They seem to send out brands like Sunday Riley, Balance Me, and Arrow fairly often.
This subscription box specializes in luxury products, which is what makes the box worth the $15 despite only including samples and deluxe samples. Birchbox also has more of a focus on skincare than GlossyBox.
GlossyBox carries a variety of brands, from popular options to lesser-known ones. Their box curation each month centers around a theme, which may influence what brands and products they select. A February theme centered around love might include a lot of pink packaging, while December’s holiday box is usually filled with glitzy products.
Their boxes include brands from around the world, and they have more than 150 sourcing employees to find exciting new brands. You can find a complete list of their brand partners here, and it includes hundreds of beauty brands from Vichy to Kat Von D Beauty.
Birchbox and GlossyBox are both popular beauty boxes under $25 offering 5 to 6 products each month.
Birchbox offers customization and you can eliminate certain product categories. This is ideal if you have some specific preferences and are pickier with your products. It’s also a good way for you to familiarize yourself with trendy and luxury beauty brands without getting bogged down by tons of products.
GlossyBox has more value per box for only $6 more each month. GlossyBox is worth at least $60 per month, while Birchbox doesn’t offer any value guarantees. There’s at least one full-size item each month, and this box can really help you fill out your beauty collection. This is the better option unless you’re new to beauty and don’t want to end up with tons of products.