What’s almost as good as an unboxing post? Knowing what the unboxing post is about. I’ve had so many subscription services that it’s easy to get lost, and I’m sure some of them are totally unknown to many people. Some sub boxes are pretty easy to get to know, but others (like the one I’ll talk about today) are lesser known, and I’d like to share with you what those boxes are about.
For my first Sub Box Overview, I’d like to talk about Notoriously Morbid’s Vanishing Cabinet Subscription, because this is my #1 truly indie subscription service that nobody seems to talk about.
Sub Box Type: Single-branded cosmetics
Box Price: $13.25 shipped (in the US). Additional shipping cost for international subs.
How easy is it to sub/unsub:
Unfortunately, this sub has a waiting list. It took me a few months to get off!! That said, it seems relatively easy to subscribe and unsubscribe if you want to. The company does not do any “guilt trip” tactics and it appears very straightforward. Unfortunately, because of the waiting list, it is NOT easy to unsub/resub- there is no guarantee there will be spots open the month after you cancel.
About the company:
Notoriously Morbid is an independent cosmetics company from West Virginia. They do a lot of loose powder color cosmetics (although some items are pressed), such as blushes, highlights, and eyeshadow. They have some lip products as well and have introduced some fragrance. They are still relatively “new,” and because they are a small indie business, it comes to no surprise that they do not test on animals. In fact, most of their items are vegan! They clearly label everything that is vegan (and everything that is not) so there is no confusion. Their colors are inspired- music, movies, TV shows, books, and the like all are sources of inspiration. Typically they appear a little bit dark and morbid, but their colors and products are not strictly for the macabre!
What comes in each box:
Unlike many traditional beauty subs, this is not a real “box.” NM ships their Vanishing Cabinet in a bubble mailer! I personally like this as it appears less wasteful. Each package contains four to five different products- most will be in their “mini” sizes, but there may be a full size product in some! In my experience, there typically are more shadows than anything else. Two to three shadows are typically included, plus one or two face and lip products. When a fifth product is added, it’s usually something like a balm product or a fragrance. You also get a cute little candy! They do not make any claim about value, and their products do not have a weight listed on them.
About the themes:
As I mentioned before, their products are inspired by pop culture. Box themes center around one play, movie, book, or TV show. They release a spoiler in the month prior, so it’s fairly easy to tell what you’re going to get!
Ship date and bill date:
They aim to bill around the 1st to 13th of the month; their goal is to eventually get everybody billed by the first week. They ship on the 13th (or the closest mailing date after that), but they are hoping to get that moved up (again, they’re trying to get people billed within the first week of the month). Shipping DOES contain a tracking number and it gets to me (in Montana) in about 3 days after the shipment was picked up.
Because this sub only offers products from the brand, it’s hard to really determine a value; companies can choose any value they want for their products. Mainstream companies tend to show off value in a predictable way (you can expect a midrange foundation to cost roughly $25-40, IMO), but with Indies, it’s harder to gauge since there are so many different factors (and brand loyalty does not play into perceived value). However, you can estimate a “value based on their own prices” to decide if the box is a better value than ordering products outright.
Let’s take a sample box: Two shadows, a face product, and a lip product. Shadows are almost always minis- they are reasonably priced at $2.75 on their website, which makes two of these worth $5.50. Face products, also in mini form, are priced at $4 (note that a mini face product is larger than a mini eye shadow). Total value is now up to $9.50. Finally, the lip product. Their Mystic Matte formula starts at $4.50 for their samples, so there we have a total value of $14. Is this incredible, considering the price of $13.25? When you factor in shipping, it’s decent- especially because these shades are exclusive to that month’s sub.
Another thing I’d like to note is the price in general is a good value to me. Full-size products are the “holy grail” in the beauty box world because we see them as more valuable, and in some cases, they are. However, for a makeup enthusiast with a ton of products, full-size is NOT always better. Products expire! For powders- well, how many eyeshadows do YOU own? How many can use reasonably use? Full-size products just don’t make sense. I have never once finished a full size blush, highlight, or eyeshadow! Their prices, I feel, are about on par or a bit below indie companies ($4 for a mini highlight; $9 for twice the product from Shiro), but their quality is impressive.
You’d like this sub if:
If you really like pop culture and a darker appearance! I don’t mean dark as in “black vs white” but as the macabre/occult feel. If you don’t mind loose powders and you like supporting indie companies (or just want to get into some indie things), this may also be a great sub for you!
Skip it if:
Loose powder formulas piss you off. Seriously. If you only like name-brand things and you want to try products from established brands with a lighter aesthetic, this sub is not for you either.