Sub Boxes // Beauty Box 5: 3 Month Sub Review (March-May 2016)

The time has come when I get to decide if a sub box is worth a subscription renewal. I usually like to do my boxes in shipments of 3. It’s not uncommon for a sub to have a month every here and there that isn’t really targeted to you. Even boxes that offer customization are held captive by whatever brands want to send them. It’s just part of the beauty box experience.

Now that I’ve had three boxes from Beauty Box 5, my old subscription is over, and now I have to decide if I want to cancel, renew for 1 month at $13, renew for 3 months at $30, or renew for a year at $99. Let’s start by reviewing the boxes month to month.

March 2016: Retail value: $74.91 with welcome gift/eyeshadow; $50.91 without. Personal value: $24.29 with eyeshadow; $12.29 without.

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The unboxing post can be found here, so I won’t re-iterate everything. I used the nail polish strips, and I liked them okay. I reviewed them here. I sold the Pur-Lisse serum and made back $4, which was nice. I like that loose eyeshadow, but that was my “welcome” present, not part of the box itself. The perfume was a dud. The eyeliner seemed cool in theory, but burned my eyes and wasn’t very pigmented in person and the glitter was sparse. I haven’t tried the blush paper or the temp tattoo yet. Overall, this first month felt more like a dud than anything else, but factoring in that eyeshadow gift completely changes the value of the box for me.

April 2016: Retail value: $45.35. Personal value: $23.99

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This was another kinda eh box, but it had a few great things. The full review is here. I like the lip pencil and the lip+cheek color quite a bit, actually. I haven’t tried the gel eye patches yet, and I’m ambivalent on getting them in boxes, which makes valuation difficult. The wipes had the lowest retail value I’d ever seen from remover wipes, and I still haven’t used them as I have a LOT of Target-brand wipes to go through still, but rest assured they will be used happily. The only total dud: body wash. With shea butter. Luckily, it was an inexpensive dud.

May 2016: Retail value: $61.90. Personal value: $22.00

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I just wrote about this yesterday. By far, it’s my favorite box of the bunch, but I gave it consistently low personal values due to the timing- I don’t need any of the products, but I can appreciate the eyeliner, mascara, and hair milk most. The lip color I am on the fence about. Again, only one dud this time: the bronzing lotion, and only a true dud because I won’t use it.

So, when we add up these experiences, we get… a spreadsheet! Yes, I am addicted to the, and no, I cannot stop whenever I want. 

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From the spreadsheet, we see that this box is, indeed, mostly 5 items. They tend towards 3 full size and 2 deluxe samples, but in some cases there maybe be 3 deluxe samples and 2 full-size, or a foil-packet or fragrance with a “bonus” foil-packet or fragrance or other single-use item. Retail value, including bonus gift, averages out to be about 6x more than I pay, and about 4.5x the price of a single box. Now, the number that is more important: “Cost-to-PV Quotient.” This tells me what “bang for my buck” my gut is telling me I’m getting. This one is at 2.34. For reference, Birchbox right now is at 2.14 (with two boxes), and Ipsy is at 2.47 (with three boxes). For me, it loses points because in order to get this decent Cost-to-PV, I have to buy the 3-month sub. At it’s month-to-month price, this box’s quotient drops to 1.8. I generally like to see at least a “2” there.

Now, let’s bring in box presentation, customer service, and the like. The box itself is cute, but the same month-to-month. It’s shipped in a small, blue box with blue and pink shredded paper filler (crinkle-cut). It is very cute! It’s also very “young!” It does not have a sophisticated feel to it. To me, this isn’t super important- I still get excited for it. Brand-wise, this is on the lower end, with a few nicer options here and there. Pros and cons here- yes, nicer brands would up the value (especially resell value on specific items), but I appreciate having affordable items, because those are what I often reach for. Product type wise, I actually am decently pleased- a lot of it is stuff I will use or will find use for (even if it’s giving to my sisters or friends). However, with my first month being such a dud, I’m unsure if they’ll continue to step back up their game. I haven’t yet had to deal with customer service, but that said, I’ve had no issues thus far, which is good.

Next: subscription lengths and prices. One month is $12.95. Three months is $10/month. One year is $8.25. It drops significantly between a one month and three month sub, but the change between three months and one year isn’t as dramatic.

And finally: compare to other boxes and look at a budget. The other options in this category: Ipsy, Birchbox, Allure, and Secret Glamour. Ipsy and Birchbox are my two “given” boxes, the ones I don’t ever fully walk away from (I might unsubscribe if there is a spoiler or something I dislike, but only for that month- and I am thinking of snagging up any yearly sale they’ll have in the future). Allure has some CS issues which has rendered it unusable for me, and I’m not sure I want to try out Secret Glamour.

My verdict: Renew a 3-month term. For me, this is lower risk than the full year (as I’m not sure if it’ll continue to get better or start getting as bad as that first box), but it still offers me decent a decent cost-to-personal value quotient (which I think I’m going to dub C-PV, as that’s easier to type out). This also gives me the option to cancel if I feel “sample-logged,” like water-logged, but with beauty samples.

 

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