Being a beauty editor certainly has its perks, but the biggest benefit has to be the beauty samples. I transform into a human guinea pig the very moment I rip into the pretty packaging and see the bottles of nail polish, perfume and shampoo that have yet to hit shelves. Now, thanks to the rise of beauty subscription boxes, women (and men) who may not work within the fashion industry can now get their hands on the goods.
Beauty subscriptions are also a great way to try out under-the-radar brands without committing to a full-size product or the full price. And if it doesn't make the cut for space on your bathroom counter top, you can always spread the love and share with family and friends.
Below are six of the best beauty subscription boxes you can get delivered at your doorstep. Read on to find out how each of these sampling services measure up against the competition.
Hair and Makeup: Birchbox
As the premiere beauty subscription service, Birchbox offers an assortment of product samples that are handpicked based on your lifestyle and beauty features (i.e. skin type and tone). Since its debut in 2010, the brand has partnered up with TV shows, fashion glossies and designers for themed boxes that create an "insider" feel.
Pros: Great mix of oversized samples from beauty brands like NARS, Davines and Origins. Members can purchase full-size versions of the products they love directly from Birchbox, as well as earn reward points for simply shopping, referring friends and taking surveys.
Cons: You must request an invite for a Birchbox subscription and wait up to a month to receive your first box.
Cost: Women's subscription is $10 per month and men's subscription is $20 per month.
Nails: Julep Maven
If you have trouble picking out the perfect nail polish, then you may want to consider becoming a Julep Maven. Your results from a fun style quiz helps the brand curate a selection of two stunning nail colors and other beauty essentials just for you.
Pros: The first box ships within three business days, and you can even get a sneak peek of what's to come before the end of each month. So if you're not feeling the shades, you can skip that month and the fee or ship it to someone else. We also love the foot care products that are packed into the tiny box (our toesies and heels are forever grateful).
Cons: The nail polish colors tend to lean towards the fashion forward side, so there is a big chance you may not be feeling one or two lacquers.
Cost: $19.99 per month.
Luxury: Sample Society Box
If you don't have your nose buried in a beauty magazine or spend every weekend perusing the beauty counter, it's hard to stay abreast of the latest trends. Sample Society has you covered with their "best-of-the-best in beauty" box packed with deluxe-sized samples. (There's no need to squeeze the last bit of moisturizer from that flimsy packet.)
Pros: You get to experiment with top beauty brands like Murad, Phyto, Diptyque and Kate Somerville. Each box comes with a mini mag with tips and news from Allure editors. Plus, there's a $15 monthly gift code.
Cons: Compared to other beauty subscription boxes, this one falls on the slightly skimpy side. But it's all about quality over quantity.
Cost: $15 per month.
Affordable: Target Beauty Box
The American retailer has made a huge impact since entering the beauty subscriptions game with its super inexpensive sample box filled with classic brands and a few cult favorites. If you aren't already shopping for beauty products at Target, this may change your mind.
Pros: You get a lot of bang for your buck (and shipping and tax is included), and there's a gift certificate to use online or in-store.
Cons: The last time we checked the new program's site, it was sold out. (Our source tells us that it's still in "test mode.")
Cost: $5 per month.
Goodebox is a godsend for those women who are becoming more aware of the type of products they put onto their bodies. It features an array of trial-sized natural and organic beauty and personal care items, including Josie Maran, Tatcha, Dr. Hauschka and Coola.
Pros: It has introduced us to a lot of lesser-known brands that are cleaner and safer for our bodies and the environment.
Cons: Natural beauty products tend to translate into thicker formulas -- be prepared.
Cost: $16 per month.
As a curly-haired girl, I was super stoked to learn about curlBox. The affordable and easy-to-use products tucked inside this beauty subscription box have completely taken over my Instagram feed, as natural hair bloggers praise its offerings.
Pros: It includes five to seven samples and a super cool magazine full of hair styling tips and inspiration. Plus, there's CurlBox Man and Kids!
Cons: You can't purchase the actual products featured on the website.
Cost: $20 per month.
Which beauty subscription box do you like best?
Meanwhile, check out these apps that make getting dressed less stressful:
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